Sunday, April 3, 2011

West Coast Pop! w/ We Are The City, Aidan Knight & Analog Bell Service @ Red Room -- 03/03/11

With no offence meant to all other artists in the West Coast Pop series, this was the show I was most looking forward to. I hadn't seen either Aidan Knight or We Are The City play live in too long, and add Analog Bell Service to the bill? Forget about it. There was no contest.

Three vested gentlemen hit the stage as Analog Bell Service kicked off the night. Early on they mentioning it was their last show as the band, but hinted that they would be evolving into something more, by playing some new songs for a different project. It was as set full of fun and energy, with all three members having great chemistry -- especially the joking/banter between Colin Cowan & Chris Kelly. Among the set was their usual cool, and kind of dark, cover of "Sunglasses At Night" and "I Guess", which they ended with, and somehow managed to top the energy of the rest of their set. I'm definitely sad that it was their last show, but I glad to have seen it, and I am intrigued to find out what comes next.

Next up was Aidan Knight and his Friendly Friends. He played a good mix of songs from Versicolour and newer, starting off with, "Friendly Fires" with the rest of the band kicking in as it built up. He mentioned a few times, when chatting between songs with his charmingly-awkward banter, that he was happy to be there, playing with We Are The City and for everyone, and his enthusiasm shone through into his performance.
After another pair of new songs, the hauntingly beautiful "Margaret Downe" and another one which I didn't get the name of -- and so playing 'guess a new songs name', I dub it "Jean-Baptiste" -- he ended the set with the usual pairing of "Knitting Something Nice" and "Jasper". The former building to an intense ending and the latter is still incredibly fun to sing along to. And just about everyone else in the sold out Red Room seemed to think so, as well.
There was a bit of a technical issue, though, as I could hear a faint buzz throughout the set. It was not, however, terribly distracting and mostly just noticeable when Aidan was talking, or especially quiet parts. And it did not stop it from being the best show I've seen Aidan play yet.

setlist
Friendly Fires, Land's End, Altar Boys, North South East West, Margaret Downe, Jean Baptiste[?], Knitting Something Nice, Jasper.


And finally, it was time for We Are The City. It had been a while since I saw them live, back in October (which is weird, since I had seen them ten times in the ten months prior), so I was not only anxious to see them, but interested in seeing the new guitarist, Blake Enemark, for the first time. They hit the stage with the first two tracks off the new EP, High School, amping up the energy right off the bat.
Not that I was unsure, but any doubt I had about Blake were erased, especially after "Time Wasted", and both Cayne and Andy were as passionate as ever -- I always think Andy is going to tear right through the drums with the amount of intensity he puts into playing.
Half way through the set, there was an incredible moment where Cayne, after a little work and pleading, silenced nearly the whole song out room to play the beautiful "Angel In White". He didn't quite achieve perfect silence, but it was an impressive feat nonetheless. That was followed by "Dark/Warm Air" which is the bands first song to have Andy on vocals, and they "ended" with a crowd favourite, "Astronomers". But after some heavy encore chants they came back out for one more -- the only other song they knew with Blake -- "1987", which had Cayne on guitar.
Like Aidan, they too were visibly excited to be playing to a sold out crowd. There was one moment during "Beasts" where everyone was clapping and singing along, and when the crowd got louder than Cayne, there was a giant grin, a look of indescribable joy on his face. It was more than obvious that the three of them were more excited to be playing than the crowd was to be watching them.

And again, much like Aidan, it was probably the best show I have seen from the band. I first saw them a little over a year ago -- and have seen them many times since -- and it's been incredible to watch them progress as a band.

setlist
Get Happy, Happy New Year, There Are Very Tiny Beasts In The Ground, Time Wasted, That's It That's All, April, Angel In White, Dark/Warn Air, Astronomers.
[encore] 1987.

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