Women of Distinction

Krystal Jessup

Written by Joe Taylor

November 26, 2023

If you ever have the need to take your mind out for a swim, there is a place at Gerrard Street and Jones Ave called the Dive Shop. I walked in and found myself in a warm neighbourhood crowd with three acts to keep everyone warm on this cold rainy night.

I saw a young woman named Krystal Jessup who plays the keyboards and guitar.  I quickly found out she came in from Ottawa even though see was a resident of Toronto for many years. We won’t hold her accountable for her departure, because she was quickly charming the crowd with her lovely soft voice. Her song seemed to come from the viewpoint of a single woman. It was like watching an Ally Mac Beal episode at the end where she is always walking down the street alone.  Songs like “It never rains in L.A.”, and “Eat like this” had a wonderful quality to it, while,”Bad Habits” contained a dark side to it. She let us know she was not very good at telling jokes between songs, so the sound man chimed in with a plethora of bad jokes that made you laugh.  She finished   the evening with her song called “Trip to the Moon”, which was brought on by one of her mushroom experiences. It is a pretty damn fine song.

Here are some images of Krystal Jessup:

The next female performer up to the intimate stage was Alissa Vox Raw, who by the way is in a very cool hard Rock band called Queens and Kings. She set up her keyboards and began to loop various sounds through it and created a one woman show with her brand of electronic magic. Her songs, “Blame it on me” and “Crying in my head”, were dark and moody. It seemed that there was a loneliness that was seeking out warmth from the pouring rain. It was both haunting and truthful, because you know at some point in your life you also had these moments. I felt it had a Nash the Slash quality to it, but from a female point of view. Her originality really stood out and her style was enrapturing in a dark alley kind of way.

Here are some images of Alissa Vox Raw:

Finally, the final act to crowd the small space was a band called Civil Wray. From the opening notes, I felt like I was driving a pickup truck along a country road with a wide open sky, when all of a sudden the vehicle went off the road and was hitting potholes left, right and centre. Somehow I found this to be disturbingly lovely. The lovely songs contained a sense of bitterness that still contained decorum of charm.  The singer’s voice contained a lot of different and clear characteristics that had a mild version of bipolar myopia. Her song about Star crossed lovers was both romantic and forlorn at the same time. She covered Tears for Fear song called “Mad World” and finished off the set with “Numb”. Numb actually had a stinging sensation. I felt like I was on a see saw the entire set and I really liked it.

Here are some images of Civil Wray:

There is a load of great Toronto talent everywhere, even in a place that promotes itself to be a Dive!

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