TOBi Velvet Underground, Toronto ON, May 3

TOBi Velvet Underground, Toronto ON, May 3
Photo: Wendy Wei
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In a sweaty, shoulder-to-shoulder, sold-out Velvet Underground on Friday night, a new era was being ushered in to Toronto's music community. Brampton-bred artist TOBi, who first came onto the scene with his 2016 project FYI, has been growing a dedicated fan base throughout North America, ultimately landing him to signing a deal with Same Plate Entertainment. But that wasn't the prize that awaited his fans on Friday night, it was the release and performance of his debut album Still.
 
The venue, which included both day one and new fans alike, as well as his parents, waited roughly two hours from the time that doors opened to see the young singer and rapper perform. Backed by his band, as well as live sound engineer Nate Smith, TOBi immediately dove into the first song off his album, "Growth."
 
"I call this shit post-traumatic growth," he yelled out before an array of red, blue and purple lights started dancing to the beat. TOBi walked fans through his new record track-by-track, but not without thanking the crowd, acknowledging his own growth and taking a minute to fall into a freestyle-meets-open mic performance, reminding the venue that not only does he have the chops, but he also has immaculate writing skills.
 
As easily as TOBi was able to command the crowd to sing along to "City Blues" (twice!), "Sweet Poison" and "Werking," he was also able to quiet the room so much that you could hear a pin drop. His presence, both strong and vulnerable, allowed for songs like "Shot Me Down" to breathe, and fans to react wholeheartedly to every word. Though TOBi closed his show roughly an hour after he touched the stage, fans started cheering his name and he returned to do "LiBRA" for his day one fans, as well as a medley of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," Usher's "Confessions Pt. II," Twista's "Slow James" and Khalid's "Location."
 
Though fans were more than satisfied, TOBi opted to leave them with one final moment: an encore with "City Blues" once again for good measure.