On a stormy Tuesday night, my friend and I ran into O’Maggio’s Kildare House just in time to catch their entertainer for that evening, Ted Lamont, as he finished setting up. While (albeit a little awkwardly) being sat almost directly next to him in one of the small seating areas throughout the pub, I took a moment to take in the atmosphere, it having been my first time there. It has a very down to Earth vibe, with dimmed lighting and soft chatter being heard throughout, helping to set the mood for the acoustic show. Once I ordered an ice cold Somersby, I sat back and was ready to enjoy, not knowing much of what to expect as Lamont only seems to have some recorded performances on Youtube at similar venues. As the night began, dressed in a pin-striped button up and a pair of jeans, with a beer at his side, he was ready to go.
Lamont’s first choice was “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys, which excited me more than it should have since there’s some nostalgia attached to that song ever since I saw Love Actually. What helped this joy was Lamont’s smooth voice, hitting every note with ease. Showing his range of genre, “Crazy” by Seal was his next choice. While he has a talented voice, he’s a talented musician overall, playing the tambourine with his foot for an added instrumental element and using recording technology to play guitar over the sound of his own live guitar playing – truly a one-man band.
He asked for requests throughout the night, and since I was one of the few people listening to the performance – many others just there to socialize – I made a few, so his next song wound up being “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas (I’d asked for “Carry On My Wayward Son,” but he didn’t know it well enough and didn’t want to disappoint). This was when I had first noticed the heart he put into every song he played – closing his eyes, focusing on every strum of the strings. However, my favourite performance of the night was his next that he’d easily transitioned into – “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis. It made me feel like I was caught up in my own champagne supernova, though I was sipping cider instead, with the rain coming down on the dimly lit streets of Olde Walkerville just outside. I also thought it was entertaining that Lamont took on the British twang the song has within his own voice, especially since, later on, he ended up playing the classic “Wonderwall,” and with that he chose to switch it up and his voice became more rough and American sounding.
While many of the covers he played contained softer acoustics – including songs like “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, “The Weight” by The Band, “I Go Blind” by 54-40, etc. – Lamont wasn’t shy when it came to switching things up. He sang other ranges of classics like Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” – with the screams of “Bennie!” being hit without problem – as well as Prince’s “Purple Rain,” and, since St. Paddy’s is just around the corner, belted out some Celtic songs for fun as well. It seems Lamont is also a big fan of The Beatles, since he sang a handful of their songs, which I found especially entertaining since he looked like he belonged in the band.
Lamont was also very in-tune and open with the audience, and their suggestions. If he saw me swaying or singing along, or anyone else listening in who hadn’t been, he seemed to get happier and sing more passionately. He even let a random woman sing a song along with him as a dedication to her sister for her birthday. And when my friend and I, half-jokingly, asked if he could sing “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers, while he hesitated at first since it had been toward the end of the night, he eventually gave in, encouraging us to sing the classic “Da da lat da” with him. Sending the night off with the smooth strumming of “Wheat Kings” by the recently retired Tragically Hip, Lamont bid everyone a good night, and – after complimenting him on a great show – I left the bar feeling that it had been just that: a good night.
Ted Lamont performs frequently at the Kildare House, so if you’d like to hear his masterful acoustics yourself, check out their entertainment schedule!