Indie pop band Valley headlines Antone’s, brings ethereal music, vibrant energy

Fiza Kuzhiyil, Associate Managing Editor

Back pressed against lead singer Rob Laska, bassist Alex Dimauro plays a chord strong enough to vibrate through Antone’s. Guitarist Mickey Brandolino and drummer Karah James exchange laughs as the crowd screams back their lyrics. Valley owns the stage. 

Toronto-based indie pop band, Valley, headlined a sold out Antone’s on Friday. Their more than 2 million monthly Spotify listeners, magnetic music and on-stage chemistry proved this is a quartet to watch.

Valley brought variation and intrigue to their live shows. While songs like “Oh shit…are we in love?” sound soft and mellow on the EP, the band turned it upbeat and dynamic when played live. Performing songs like “Tempo” with such energy and attention to detail, Valley demonstrated that the upbeat tune was written for a live audience.

Melodies in songs like “There’s Still A Light In the House” pulled the audience along in a daze of soft vocals and bold drums, catapulting listeners into a lyrical story. This satisfying composition, musical build up and tonal variety makes Valley stand out among other modern indie pop bands. With dreamy verses that lead into dynamic choruses, Valley writes music that hits the spot.

That being said, those satisfying melodies weren’t all perfect live. Lead singer Laska ad-libbed the melody of “hiccup,” “homebody” and “There’s Still A Light In the House.” While ad-libs often add glamor and novelty to a live performance, changing the melody of their most popular songs made it difficult for the audience to sing along to the parts they knew best. Changes in the  second verse or second repetition of the chorus can add flair, but when changed on the first go, it took away from the incredible composition of their music. However, changes towards the end in songs like “nevermind,” showed off Laska’s impressive vocal range and control.

Drummer and background vocalist Karah James stood out as the star of the night. As the heartbeat of the band, her strong, steady playing make her one of the best drummers in the current indie pop scene. Her background and solo vocals highlighted the ethereal, dreamy quality in their music and added depth to their live show. 

Still, the band was at their best during “7 Stories,” where every member took to the mic to add elegance and ambience to a steady ballad. The quartet shared an obvious connection and chemistry that made every part of their set enjoyable.  

Overall, Valley took Antone’s by storm with unique melodies and unparalleled chemistry, proving just how worthy they are of a sold out crowd. Valley is surely a group to watch.