Topic: first play live


Lights - First Play Live

Lights has never been one to get comfortable, even amidst her success. Her project Skin&Earth received critical acclaim as both an electro-pop album - which took home the 2018 Juno Award for "Pop Album of the Year" - and as a riveting graphic novel. Then Lights took the project a step further with her Skin&Earth Acoustic album, which she performed, produced and mixed herself. Ten days after the album's release in July of 2018, Lights brought a full band - including violin, viola, and cello - into Studio 211 at CBC Music in Toronto. They performed most of the tracks on Skin&Earth Acoustic - for the very first time - in front of a small live audience.

Tyler Shaw - First Play Live

Things are going pretty well for Tyler these days. His first child - a daughter - was born last December. And his third album came out a few weeks ago. It’s called Tyler Shaw and we hope to record him performing it live when the pandemic permits. Meanwhile, we’re taking you back to the First Play Live session for Tyler’s SECOND album Intuition. Tyler is originally from Coquitlam, BC, and he first grabbed the national spotlight when he won the "MuchMusic Coca-Cola Covers Contest" back in 2012. Since then he's written and recorded a bunch of songs that have done well on radio and the Billboard charts in Canada. He released his debut album Yesterday in 2015, and his second album Intuition in September 2018. On Intuition, Tyler says he was more confident about going with what felt right to him, and he also explored aspects of his father's Chinese heritage. Just before the album was released, Tyler Shaw brought his band to CBC Music in Toronto to perform most of the songs - plus a couple of older hits - for a live studio audience.

Kathleen Edwards

CBC Music Live digs deep into the archives with this First Play Live performance from 2012. Kathleen Performs songs from her then current release Voyageur, live in CBC Music's Studio 211.

Sarah Harmer - First Play Live

Sarah Harmer was born and raised in Burlington, Ontario. She first became aware of the musician's lifestyle as a teenager, when her older sister started taking her to Tragically Hip concerts. Sarah started singing in Toronto clubs and was asked to join a band known as The Saddletramps. Later, while studying at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, she formed a band called Weeping Tile. They released four records in the mid-'90s, then broke up. Sarah put out her first solo album in 1999. In 2020 she released her sixth, Are You Gone, which has her reflecting on her past and wondering about her present. Now Are You Gone is nominated for "Adult Alternative Album of the Year" at the 2021 Juno Awards. Sarah and her band performed most of the songs off it for the first time at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario. This is that concert.

William Prince - First Play Live

William Prince performs songs from his new album Reliever live in the CBC Music studio.

Begonia - First Play Live

"The throughline of the album is just me yelling at things that I'm scared of, and being like, 'Go away!'" That's Begonia, a.k.a. Alexa Dirks, talking about her upcoming solo album, Fear, due out Sept. 13. The proud Winnipeg singer-songwriter is seemingly very comfortable sharing the inner turmoil she mined over the course of a couple of years to develop her full-length debut. "I'm very much a person that's like, you should feel all your feelings and name your fears so that you can actually overcome them." Listen as two-thirds of the O'Pears (Jillian Harris and Meg Contini) join Begonia and her band in gripping, powerful performances of all the songs from Fear for the very first time. Warning - This Content contains course language.

Arkells - First Play Live

Through their years of relentless touring, Arkells have earned a well-deserved reputation for being one of the best live bands around. With their fifth album Rally Cry the Hamilton band reached new heights - including "Rock Album of the Year" at the 2019 Juno Awards. Musically, Rally Cry reflects this evolution: it's got bangers sure to evolve into crowd sing-alongs in the stadiums where the band was starting to perform. But in this hour, you'll hear what happens as an intimate audience of Arkells superfans is lucky enough to experience the band as up close and personal as it gets. The band said that this time round they wanted to make a "wild and weird and adventurous" album. And while they wanted to stay true to themselves as a rock n' roll band, they also wanted to allow themselves to try things that aren't traditional rock n' roll. Listen in to find out how those experiments play out in this live and intimate First Play Live session.

Bonjay - First Play Live Session

In 2010, Alanna Stuart and Ian "Pho" Swain released their Bonjay debut. The critically acclaimed EP Broughtupsy was the start of something special. Stuart's voice was a revelation: powerful and gospel, groomed from growing up in the Jamaican Pentecostal church, and Canadian indie-influenced from coming of age alongside the emergence of bands like Arcade Fire and Feist. Bonjay's unique sonic blend of dancehall, electronic and experimental pop, futuristic soul was more a first draft blueprint than a map back then, but the foundation was clear. Bonjay was a band to watch, the next generation of a more complex, diverse and cool iteration of what it meant to be a Canadian musician. And then, nothing. Until mid-2018. It was eight years in the making, but Bonjay were back with their full-length debut album Lush Life. The record's title is a fitting description of the sonic landscape Stuart and Swain crafted over the album's nine tracks. Every song is vibrant and evocative, high concept without sacrificing any emotional weight. Not long before the record's official release, Alanna and Ian performed most of the songs from Lush Life at CBC Music in Toronto in an intimate and amazing studio session for a live audience.

Dear Rouge - First Play Live

Danielle and Drew McTaggart turned a lot of heads with their first Dear Rouge record, 2013's Black to Gold, winning awards and staking out a spot on the charts. After winning "Breakthrough Group of the Year" at the 2016 Juno Awards, the pressure on the Vancouver-based band to follow up their successful debut was high, to say the least. But they didn't rush out their sophomore album, they took their time, and a couple of years later they were back with a new album, Phases. As they stepped back into the spotlight with Phases, Danielle and Drew's swagger and knack for catchy hooks was on full display. Not long before their album's official release in March of 2018, the two made themselves at home in CBC Music's Toronto studio and invited some fans to watch this special live performance of their new songs.

Zaki Ibrahim - First Play Live

Zaki Ibrahim released her new album The Secret Life of Planets recently, and she came to CBC Music to play First Play Live. Ibrahim's talented band not only played some very soulful grooves, but they also came impeccably dressed and had choreographed dance moves. Listen to Ibrahim's "sci-fi soul" in this First Play Live concert.

Brett Kissel - First Play Live

Brett Kissel must be one of the hardest-working guys in country music. He's also one of the nicest. He came to CBC Music for a First Play Live session of his new album, We Were that Song.

Donovan Woods - First Play Live

Donovan Woods' new album, Both Ways, comes out on April 20 2018, and the title refers to the way his song lyrics can be interpreted in multiple ways. Check out the lyrical brilliance of Woods in his First Play Live session.

Souljazz Orchestra - First Play Live

Souljazz Orchestra is back with a funky, tropical, Afrobeat and West African-inspired album, plus a cover of Somali group Dur-Dur Band. Filled with punchy horns, analog synths, call-and-response lyrics and woke politics, this is music for both body and soul. Get out of your chair and dance to Souljazz Orchestra performing these new songs in a CBC First Play session.

Boogat - First Play Live

Boogat's album, San Cristobal Baile Inn, is a brilliant personal exploration of the multiplicity of identity. As Boogat explores his own multiplicity (and the idea of home and belonging) he reveals truths we can all contemplate — while dancing. Listen to Boogat perfrom songs from the album in this First Play Live concert.

Caveboy - First Play Live

Caveboy perform their new album, Night In The Park, Kiss In The Dark, in its entirety along with a few older hits for an intimate audience in the CBC Music Studio.

Johnny Reid - First Play Live

Johnny Reid released his latest album, Revival, in late 2017, and played a First Play Live session at CBC Music. Reid rolled in with a hot band complete with a sax player and four background singers. The performance was a real old-time style concert, with the band even playing Reid offstage at the end of the show.

Rich Aucoin - First Play Live

Rich Aucoin performs music from his album Release in this First Play Live concert recorded in CBC Studio 211 in Toronto. Rich Aucoin's latest album, Release, dropped on May 17. For his First Play Live session, the Halifax-based artist flew to Toronto and called some of his friends to play the new songs — and being a charismatic force, Aucoin counts some of the top musicians in Toronto as his friends. Aucoin was joined by Dwayne Christie, Christine Bougie, Anna Ruddick, May Akanuma and Robin Hatch. Beautiful harmonies and slick dance moves were added by James Bailey, Kyla Charter and Maylee Todd.


First Play Live: Sarah Harmer, Are You Gone

Watch the singer-songwriter perform songs from her first album in 10 years.


First Play Live: William Prince, Reliever

Watch the Winnipeg-based singer-songwriter perform songs from his sophomore album.


First Play Live: Caveboy, Night in the Park, Kiss in the Dark

Watch the Montreal-based trio perform songs from its first full-length album.

Aphrose - First Play Live Session

Aphrose performs live studio versions of songs from her debut album, Element.

15 standout live performances from 2019

Unplanned karaoke, all-star collaborations and more gems from CBC Music's year in live music.


First Play Live: City and Colour, A Pill For Loneliness

Dallas Green shares an intimate solo performance in our CBC Music studio.

City and Colour - First Play Live

City and Colour performs music from his latest album A Pill for Loneliness as well as some old favourites in this intimate acoustic performance.


First Play Live: Louise Burns, Portraits

The Vancouver songwriter performs songs off her new album.