e_AcousticSet - Larose
From left, Tommy Paxton-Beesley and Justin Nozuka play the last intimate acoustic set of the year


Pat Maloney sang about everything from relationships and memories to wind farms and Oprah Winfrey in front of a very small crowd collected on the stage of Algonquin Commons Theatre.

“What a cool little setup we got here,” said performer and Algonquin alumni Pat Maloney at Algonquin’s Intimate and Acoustic concert March 24.

“This is a cut above my regular pub shows.”

Deep blue lighting filled the room as oscillating patterns of red danced across the empty seats, which were behind the performer.

As Maloney faced the back of the stage, he looked upon a small crowd of students nestled into leather chairs.

Candle flames quivered and Edison bulbs hung as Maloney played his solo show using nothing but his voice, a guitar, a stomp of his foot and a warm whistle.

Maloney took advantage of the small, friendly setting by addressing his audience personally, asking names and even recognizing fans from Facebook.

“Do I have time for one more Bill?”

When Bill Kitchen, Student Association’s event programmer, answered in the affirmative, Maloney drew a laugh from the crowd. “I like to ask that from the stage because they can’t say no.”

As Maloney left the stage, the crowd – if it is even fair to call it that – spent the ten-minute intermission in tense anticipation for the main act – Justin Nozuka.

“(Nozuka’s) my favourite,” said Olivia Martel, a former Algonquin student who attended the show with her longtime friend and fellow fan Danika Franchi.

“I saw him in Montreal in May last year and there was a huge crowd, I can’t believe it’s this intimate with him,” said Martel. “”It’s too good to be true.”

Nozuka and his accompaniment, Tommy Paxton-Beesley, walked through the rows of seats, between attendees, and took their seats under the bright spotlight – the only white light in the Theatre.

“This is nice, it’s an interesting background,” he joked about the empty theatre seating.

Nozuka spoke to the crowd, explaining the stories behind his songs.

His soft fingerpicking and the smooth falsetto intertwined with the lighting to produce a link between the artist and the listener.

“I felt like everyone was really connecting,” said Franchi. “In awe, really.”