Toronto-based singer-songwriter Allan Rayman returned to Victoria to the delight of his fans for two sold-out shows in March at the Capital Ballroom.
The first show on March 16 felt incredibly intimate as if Rayman was playing in a living room.
Rayman’s fanbase has grown in B.C.’s capital city after he performed at Rifflandia 2022.
“I think Rifflandia had a lot to do with the sold-out shows,” Rayman said. “It’s incredible.”
Before singing or saying a word, Rayman began the show by letting the audience know he was ready to party by dramatically cracking open a beer.
Rayman tries to play every show with a similar mindset, so his performance at Capital Ballroom wasn’t too different from his Rifflandia set.
“I want to enjoy them the same,” Rayman said. “Make sure you’re having fun with any show.”
Rayman’s love for playing live shined through as he danced and occasionally played air guitar during Much Too Much and I Talk To My Cigarette.
“Do you enjoy what you do? I keep asking myself that,” Rayman said. “If you don’t like what you do then don’t do that job.”
Rayman avoided playing any physical instruments during the concert, but his vocals were strong enough to make up for the small amount of instrumentation. He was only joined on stage by Michael Lemmo on guitar and Rayman expressed he was lucky to have him by his side.
“He’s one of the best guitarists in the entire world,” Rayman said. “He’s extremely creative. It’s wild. He’s a legend.”
Rayman poured his heart out on the stage, with an especial amount of emotional rawness as he sang “Baby it’s too late,” during Frank, the most stripped-back song of the night.
“All mixed up. It’s too bad we mixed up what we could have had. Honey, we’re so bad.”
After performing Frank, Rayman burst into tears and took a minute to compose himself by a table filled with candles at the back of the stage.
Rayman chooses sets that he wants and tries not to be swayed by public opinion. He didn’t play one of his biggest hits, Lucy the Tease, despite audience members requesting it throughout the show. He also avoided playing Waste My Time and Books, but made up for it as he signed the 45 RPM Pabst Blue Ribbon record – which features both songs – for a fan during the set.
“I don’t wonder or worry about what the audience wants or the songs they would like me to play,” Rayman said.
Rayman still got the crowd involved and played other fan favourites such as Pretty Bug, 25.22 and Tennessee. Watching the audience was almost as fun as watching Rayman. The venue was incredibly bright so you could see those around you clearly, and the crowd was rowdy for a Thursday.
Rayman’s mysterious but playful nature is captivating. He’s cool as can be, but whimsical enough to be incredibly likeable. His soulful and distinct vocals, impressive songwriting and charisma are sure to keep his fans coming back for more sold-out shows in the future.