Vancouver hip-hop artist SonReal (AKA Aaron Hoffman) returns to the Marquee Ballroom on March 10 as a part of his North American No Warm Up Tour. When we spoke with him, he was in New York, getting ready for a show at the Knitting Factory, but the tour also includes multiple Canadian stops, including Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Charlottetown, and St. John’s.
Hoffman headlined a show at the Seahorse Tavern in September 2016, but the March 10 show will mark almost exactly a year since he first appeared on the Marquee stage. That time, he opened for Classified; this time he’s headlining.
“It was one of my favourite shows I’ve ever done,” says Hoffman. “People were just going nuts. We had no lights, there was no production, it was just this punk-rock show, in this sweaty room, and everyone was just having a blast. I told my agent I wanted to come back to Halifax, and we added it to this tour too.”
The setlist will showcase a wide range of material, including songs from The Name, his most recent EP, and “a couple of old gems for people who want to hear some of the older stuff.” Plus, he’ll be giving audiences a sneak preview of his upcoming album, due out this summer.
Hoffman says his new album will be a little different from his usual work. Fans will hear plenty of the offbeat-but-catchy sound they’ve come to expect from SonReal, there will also be a few acoustic tracks and instrumentals scattered throughout.
“You spend your whole career trying to redo your first album,” he says. “I wanted to dig deep on this album and show people a deeper side of me. What I do for a living is I go into a room and literally write my thoughts down. Sometimes you want to hold back because you’re like, ‘Oh, I don’t want my mom to know this.’ On this album, I’m just giving fans the full spectrum of me. I’m opening up to let people know who Aaron is.”