Our team went out to see Dan Croll and Outlya and came back with a comprehensive review. Up and coming pop rock trio OUTLYA put on one of those performances that stop you in your tracks. Many of us have come to expect very little from opening bands. They tend to be newer on their musical journey, and therefore are still working out their stage presences and live gigs. The music is good, but tends to be a little lackluster. OUTLYA is the complete opposite of the typical opening band. On tour with Dan Croll, and making a pit stop at Mama Roux’s, the band completely wowed the fans present. Their mixture of rock and pop, paired with power vocals and exceptional song structure, blessed every ear present. OUTLYA, with new single “Heaven” put on the greatest opening show witnessed in some time.
OUTLYA opened with newest single “Heaven.” The pop rock song, with its smooth lyrical content and cool dude vibe, is the anti boy band mantra of the band. The song is thoughtful but still young, makes you feel like you’re watching that one really talented group that you knew growing up. These guys are going places, and their music will take them there. Soon to be released “Howl” was up next. A keys driven synth song which is a combination of 80’s pop and singer songwriter alternative that displays the range in OUTLYA’s arsenal. Completing the trio of H songs the band broke into “Higher.” As the audience nodded in syncopated acceptance the band played their pop infused repetitive tune that completely lifted the energy in the room. By the end of the tune people where feverishly dancing, raising their hands in praise and adoration.
“White Lies,” a radio friendly song that has a little attitude kept the tempo and energy up. The crowd was amped and ready, a perfect combination for the next song “Volcano” in which OUTLYA urged the audience to join in for the chorus. The sonic layers, from slow R+B to more rock, give the song a sexy and smooth vibe. The crowd was into it as well, singing very loudly and very off key during the chorus. Finally “The Light” closed out their set. A bit of a darker tinge the song has an anthem like quality, growing increasingly large throughout the song.
OUTLYA may be young and still relatively new but they are no doubt going places. The likeable dudes play incredible music that is primed for success. As they part from Dan Croll’s tour to tackle the festival route it will be exciting to see how they continue to grow. OUTLYA easily put on one of the best performances of the year, leaving us wanting more.
Dan Croll is a figure of juxtaposition; he is both nerdy and cool, demonstrated by his fashion choice but contradicted by his stage presence. His music is accessible but mysterious, friendly but unobtainable. At times both the music is familiar but new. It is a confusing concoction of personality and music that makes him so very fascinating. An artist who creates refined free music without restrictions of genre or feeling, his music is exploratory. Playing to the Mama Roux crowd, Dan’s live show is energetic and impressive, making the totality of the Dan Croll brand to be one to take note of.
After a stellar opener, Dan kicked off his show with hit “Compliment Your Soul.” Under an impressive flashing of the lights Dan delivered the sedated pop rock with smooth and cool energy, a bad boy mixed with hipster style. From the first chord the crowd was on their feet, singing wildly to the artist they have come to love. “Away From Today” proceeded, with an island flair and mystic undertone the song presented another layer to the music that Dan creates. While there are certainly the understandable and relatable songs, like the opener, there is also a great layer of sonic creation that combines unorthodox samples into a seamless tune. It is pop but not the generic safe pop, there is something wild but understated about this song.
“January,” a new song from Dan, offers a bluesy rock funk with some indie flair. With a tinge of mystery the song is a bit darker than the previous more lighthearted tunes, but fans are very much still into it as they dance along. The elongated space of the song allows the tune to breath and develops its slow build. Keys driven “Can You Hear Me” lifts the mood with its R+B flair. The tempo shift with “One of Us” and “Wanna Know” keep the audience on their toes, as the dancing turns into a sing along with Dan leading the choir. Upbeat rock “Bad Boy” and “Thinking Aboutchu” are clear fan favorites; throughout the songs fans wildly clap and sing along, filling the space with a slew of sound that rattles the room.
New song “Eminem” is followed by “Be Alone” and “Swim” followed again by the new song “Educate.” All four songs feature samples of sound, from things like underwater noises to robotic nuances. This type of sampling, a very common entry in indie music, is perfectly combined with the full range of Dan’s vocals that go from a nice deep voice to the high falsetto. “From Nowhere” and “Tokyo” close out the set, with “Home” ending the encore. The triad of upbeat tunes is the perfect ending to a lively night.
Music in this age can sometimes be monothematic and sonically redundant. Artists create the same three songs with different titles and lyrics, creating a slew of recycled material. Dan Croll does not live in this music bubble. His songs are each different and ever shifting, much like the artist they are full of unexpected turns and a depth that is not always noted in mainstream music. Dan Croll’s show at Mama Roux perfectly captured the variety of his music and style, serving for the audience a feast of escapism created by multiple colours.
Reviewer: Kylie McCormick
Photographer: John Dent