Hamilton’s The Rest played their second last performance in Toronto at The Drake Hotel on Tuesday June 5.

They began the show with a meaningful rendition of “The Last Day” and I felt certain that they were singing about these final moments of a 10-year long career of three albums and 328 shows.  There was a surreal, romantic quality in the crowd’s energy – not unlike their music, which somehow sounded even larger, more layered and lyrical on this last day.

The whole experience was incredibly intimate, and when they played “Always on my Mind,” I felt a curious impulse to grab hold of a nearby stranger’s hand. I didn’t, but I truly wouldn’t have found it too peculiar if the whole audience quietly and casually started holding hands and swaying from side to side, and missing the beat all the while. Lead vocalist Adam Bentley even told us, “Endings are hard, but you guys make it easier.”

The band seemed to play with a heavy heart. After just one song Bentley confessed, “you know if I cry, it’s not a PR stunt.”  And their music seemed the perfect soundtrack for memories, goodbyes, and all things bittersweet. They played songs from their earlier albums, but most of the show came from Seesaw, their third and final album.

This last album seemed cursed. Their friend and producer passed away just before they began recording, and once they had finished, they lost everything because of a technical glitch. The album was eventually recovered, but the grueling journey only added to the music’s poetry and significance, which became more intense as they sang those songs for a last time.

They have been a lovely, uplifting indie-rock gem for the past decade. They will return home for their final show at Dundas Valley Montessori School on Saturday June 8. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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