ionnalee’s Return To Toronto

Swedish indie-synth pop artist/collective is back on a North American tour

Jonna Lee goes by a pair of additional names in performance. As iamamiwhoami, she releases her music alongside visual work in video, graphics and still images produced by a team of artists. In 2017, Lee began producing solo work minus longtime musical collaborator, Claes Björklund. The first release, titled Everyone Afraid To Be Forgotten was followed up two years later with Remember The Future. A play on her name, ionnalee became the title of this solo project. While the distinction between the two is a challenge to parse, the overall quality of the music, lyrics and performances make it unnecessary to bother.

North American fans expected to catch ionnalee shows back in the spring of 2020, thus another exciting and anticipated tour lost to pandemic. Happily, new mom, Jonna Lee packed baby boy up and began the Be Here Soon tour on February 26, passing through Amsterdam, London and Berlin. A scheduled Glasgow show was cancelled due to travel issues. She hit our shores on April 12 in Philadelphia for the first of thirteen concerts. Montreal and Toronto got their shows on April 18 and 19, respectively. ADDICTED covered the Toronto stop at the grand old Opera House.

Backed this time by a full band of Björklund on keyboards and background vocals, drummer Tobias Tagesson and Rikard Lidhamn on synth, electric bass and background vocals, the show opened with Thunder, Lightning, a single release from last year. Though the Opera House was filled to only a third its capacity, those who gathered radiated enough joy and energy to fill the room. Cheers, applause and dancing showed just how appreciated Lee’s return to Toronto meant to this small but fervent group of fans. Following another newer track, Canyon, the familiar beat of o from 2013’s bounty got the room moving. Jonna Lee took a moment to greet the crowd before introducing the next song as one they were going to perform in their native language. Another recent fave, sommaren är min och jag kommer tillbaka (summer never ended the damage was all mine) followed and proved to be a showpiece for Jonna Lee’s stunning voice. With each song, the audience cheered louder and longer, putting a huge smile on Jonna Lee’s face. Following the gorgeous Dunes Of Sand, ionnalee got the room dancing again with fan fave, chasing kites. Along with fountain, these songs from the iamamiwhoami album Blue were personal standouts. The stomping goods led to a new folktronic favourite from the latest album, Walking On Air. The night ended with a throwback to y from bounty. As the band took their bows at the foot of the stage, the cheers grew even louder. The lights came up and I saw a young woman gleefully miming punching out their group of friends, pretty much speaking for the entire room.

ionnalee’s Be Here Soon tour continues through the US in Denver on April 26 and Los Angeles on the 29th. The final shows hit San Francisco on May 2, Portland on the 4th, Seattle on the 5th before ending the tour back up north to Vancouver on May 7th. Tickets can be found on their website.

Aron Harris
Aron Harris is ADDICTED Magazine's music editor as well as a contributor. As a graphic designer, writer and photographer, you can find his work all over ADDICTED. He also geeks out over watches, pizza, bass guitars and the Grateful Dead.