A packed Päter show at the Press Vinyl Café

A packed Päter show at the Press Vinyl Café

MAY 15 – The sounds of the press Vinyl Cafe spilled onto the sidewalk of the Danforth last week in a three-part show headlined by alt-pop Toronto songwriter, guitarist, and singer Päter (pronounced like ‘payter’), joined by comedian Chase Jeffels and contemporary folk band Dandelion Highway. Dandelion Highway hit the stage first, playing some originals like “Reality Honey”.

Their music was full of simple, warm harmonies and carried a lo-fi aesthetic and lyrics about contemporary experiences. At times, the drums brought a modern twist and sensibility to their music, with swinging, laidback 2-step rhythms, while others had a classic hoedown feel. Their music sounded warm and nostalgic, sad and hopeful, uplifting and introspective. I pictured endless fields of flowers and golden rays of sun on a spring day, as their stage presence evoked that of a warm late spring day or early autumn afternoon. They looked so comfortable up there that you’d think the stage was a reclining seat.

Here are some images of Dandelion Highway:

Dandelion Highway consists of Chad Chevalier on drums, Emily Misura on violin, Chris Sytnyk on bass guitar/vocals and Kayleigh McGavock on guitar/vocals. McGavok and Sytnyk trade off on lead singer and on writing responsibilities, with no set form.

Chase Jeffels, also simply known as Chase, was the second act. In a change from the usual, rather than being another musical act, he was “some guy off the street who told some jokes,” who brought some “silly goofs” to the evening. Without spoiling his material here, some highlights were jokes about Alberta, dates, and clown school. He also workshopped a few new bits on perhaps a friendlier crowd than your typical comedy revue.

Here are some images of Jeffels:

Päter and Her Imaginary Friends

The main act, Päter, was supported by her band, “Imaginary Friends,” with Jack Johnston on upright bass, Päter herself on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Donny Drain on effects guitar, Emily from the 1st act once again on violin, James Cudworth on drums, with some occasional backup from two more friends in the audience.

The setlist featured a mix of songs, each with its own story:

  • “Waiting”: Born from desperate attempts to get creativity going after art school sucked it all out of them.
  • “Nicotine Hallelujah”: The longest-lasting song in her live sets, first written around when she was 16, having tried a cigarette for the first time and thinking, “This is where my life ends.”
  • “Fear of the Dead”: Päter and her producer worked on making it nauseating like a bad trip.
  • “Moonshine”: Written on the night of a super moon that no one wanted to watch with her, about feeling so down that you hold on to one thing. She described how writing this song helped take away her spiraling feelings.
  • “Catching Cold”: Reflects her experience of immigrating to Canada.
  • “Hatred Song”: Despite its name, it’s a love song about the part of love when you sort of “give up.”

The finale was done acoustically, a shift from her recent tendency to end shows with lots of intensity. This time, she opted for an intimate, quiet conclusion with delightful three-part harmonies from her backup singers. There were echoes of shoegaze, with the focus on reverb-laden guitars and dreamy harmonies on some tracks, that made up a part of Päter’s alt-pop aesthetic. Other songs were these dark, mournful sounds, full of eerie and dissonant harmonies. Each of her co-performers got into the zone and seemed to play as one cohesive instrument. I was struck by her voice, which is powerful and will knock you down and captivate you.

Here are some images of Pater:

After the show, I stuck around to help pack up and ask Päter – whose name is Parmida Kakavand – a bit about her music. “I was watching music videos when I was two,” Kakavand explains. “I was like, that’s what I wanted to do,” getting a guitar at eleven years old. Their first widespread popularity was in 2020 when one of their songs went viral on TikTok. “It built the base of all my listeners,” says Kakavand.

Dandelion Highway and the Päterverse first crossed paths when Parmida and Kayleigh went to the same open mic, according to fellow band member, bassist and vocalist Chris Sytnyk. Jeffels meanwhile, was already a personal friend of Päter.

You can find out more about Päter by following her Instagram, @paterverse, and their music is available on Spotify, Bandcamp, and most major platforms – including on vinyl, right at the Press Vinyl Café. Dandelion Highway is also on Instagram, @dandelionhighway and you can stream their music on Apple Music and Spotify. Chase can be followed on Instagram @chase.jeffels.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.