Black, white, and crimson red are colours that characterize Canadian musicians Sarah and Charlotte Command to a tee. As the energetic duo behind the Command Sisters, their edgy and buoyant pop paid a triumphant visit to Toronto’s El Mocambo theatre as part of the Lemmon Stage Discovery Series on November 30th, 2021.
Founded by live music mavens Lemmon Entertainment, in partnership with El Mocambo, the Lemmon Stage supports the recovery of the Canadian music industry by providing an ongoing professional development platform for emerging artists. Lemmon Stage is the only year-long program at the El Mocambo, presenting live performance opportunities for new talent.
Headlining as the Lemmon Stage “Artist Spotlight” act, the Command Sisters came prepared to blow the roof off of the El Mocambo’s iconic neon palm trees. And did they ever. Emerging from the pandemic with their new EP Rouge the sisters showcased their futuristic, moody sound front and centre, signalling the emergence of them leaving their country roots and effortlessly embracing the pop world.
Yet, before the crowd danced the night away to their buzzing live set, ADDICTED’s Myles Herod had a chance to chat with them within the historic rock n’ roll walls of the downtown venue.
“Everybody is just so excited to be back to see live music that it’s not even just the excitement for the entertainers, it’s also the excitement for the fans,” beamed Sarah Command prior to their onstage performance. “Even though it’s nerve-racking to be back playing again, seeing the joy on the crowd’s face is always the best part of it.”
With hits like ‘I Like It’ and ‘I Can Do What I Want’, it’s no surprise the group’s career is taking off. However, for the Alberta siblings, it’s a success that didn’t happen overnight. In reality, the two have been working hard for more than ten years. “15 years, actually,” says Charlotte Command, the group’s chief songwriter. “We’ve been playing shows together since we were six and nine. That was our thing. Growing up between Alberta and Nashville, we did so much playing. Our main passion – and I think Sarah can relate to this – will always be songwriting, playing, gigging.”
It was early in the pandemic when Charlotte and Sarah, gearing up for the release of their debut single and a high-profile show in New York City, were forced to reevaluate their game-plan when lockdown brought the world to a halt. Instead of succumbing to frustration, the sisters doubled down on creativity turning to livestream shows and social media content to an overwhelming response. As Sarah attests, “It’s been a great way to connect with people that would never know you otherwise. Everybody has been so supportive online, especially since it’s been such a major communication tool. Really, online is the way you have to promote yourself in today’s world.”
In concluding our chat, one last question persists: what’s it like playing at Toronto’s El Mocambo (a venerable institution hosting such luminaries as The Rolling Stones and Blondie) as well as the equally important Lemmon Stage? Both sisters answer in near unison together. “It means a lot. The El Mocambo in itself is such a legendary stage. It’s one of those spots in Toronto, much like the Horseshoe, you see the photos of all the people who’ve played here over the years and you’re like, “This is really surreal!”’
With only minutes until they’re needed on stage, Sarah offers some parting words by adding, “Don’t forget The Lemmon Stage has such a great history as well. If you look at the legacy with Lemmon Entertainment and what they’ve done, it’s incredible. Just to be affiliated with that is an honour.”
The Lemmon Stage continues tonight, showcasing Alexander Saint, Moscow Apartment, Skye Wallace and DJ Gimmemar with an artist spotlight on Nefe and very special guest, Bif Naked.