Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Foster The People Secret Show @ The Peak -- 05/31/11

It was a year ago, almost to the day, when The Peak put on their first Secret Show with Mumford & Sons. It was at a restaurant patio in Yaletown on a Sunday, and thousands of people showed up, blocking of streets with the cops even being called. (Here is a time lapse video of the insanity).
This year they picked another hot, up and coming band, Foster The People and, like last year, they only announced the location two hours before the show, and only through the interwebs and social media; facebook, twitter and email.
It ended up being at The Peak itself, with the band playing on a balcony and the crowd filling the street below. Even though it was 1pm on a weekday (the only time the band could do it before their sold out show tonight) at least a few hundred people packed the street to catch the show. Many of which were younger fans. When Mark Foster asked how many peopled skipped work to show up, there was mild applause. When he asked how many skipped school... many shrill screams.

Despite the rain, the crowd was really enthusiastic about the short acoustic set. They started off with "Houdini", and their sound translated really well for the acoustic set. After a couple more, they ended with a slowed down version of their big hit, "Pumped Up Kicks", which kicked off lots of dancing and some singing along. After the set they promised to come down to meet everyone, and while I didn't stick around to find out, I believe they did come down to meet people and sign things for quite some time.

While it was pretty cool show, personally I don't think it quite lived up to the first year. Having the band play on the balcony was cool (and makes way more sense logistically) but it lost a bit of the intimacy and impact of having the band right there. Mind you, when you set the bar with someone like Mumford and Sons, it's going to be hard to top. It was still really fun, and complaining about a free show put on with a band like Foster the People is just insane. If they can keep getting bands like this, I really hope The Peak is able to make this an annual event.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Peak Performance Project: Year Three

It's that time of year again. Time for the Peak Performance Project to kick off. The competition is a multi-year contest in which The Peak, along with Music BC, picks 20 BC musicians/bands and puts them through a "professional development program to help new and emerging artists create careers in the music industry". They go to a rock n roll bootcamp, play a series of shows, get some money to help them and are given radio time, all to help them further their career.

The first year it was won by We Are The City, with The Left and Bend Sinister rounding out the top three, and last year it was taken by Kyprios, with Said The Whale and Vince Vaccaro getting second and third. And both years it has included some fantastic artists, some that were already established and some that, I personally became a fan of after discovering them in the competition. 

So without further rambling, here is this years Peak Performance Project Top 20!

Acres of Lions
Ashleigh Eymann
Avairis
Behind Sapphire
Current Swell
David Vertesi Unfortunately, due to schedule conflicts, Vertesi is no longer able to compete... no word yet on a replacement.
Fields of Green
Hilary Grist
Jasper Sloan Yip
Lindsay Bryan
Maurice
Redgy Blackout
Rococode
Sex With Strangers (replacing David Vertesi)
The Belle Game
The Boom Booms
The Matinee
The Never Surprise
The Oh Wells
Treelines
41st and Home

A few of those were expected, a few of those were surprises. A couple repeats, some familiar, some unknowns... A few I am already pulling for, but super excited to hear what everyone has to offer.
First event is Canada Day in Surrey, where every single band will be playing throughout the day!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sam Roberts Band w/ Jets Overhead @ Malkin Bowl -- 05/28/11

It has been far too long since three things happened: I've seen Jets Overhead live, I've seen Sam Roberts Band live, and I've seen a show at Malkin Bowl. And it was a gorgeous day to combine these three things last night. Fun fact*: The first time I saw Sam Roberts Band was also the first time I saw Jets Overhead. They were opening on a bill that was Jets, The Stills, Broken Social Scene, and SRB.
*fact not guaranteed to be fun.

Due to some aggravation with parking -- namely, waiting in line for 15 minutes to pay -- I missed the first song or two of Jets Overhead, running up to the park with "No Nations" in the distance.
They were on top of their game in the shining sun, with their infection melodies and catchy harmonies. They played mostly off their last full length, No Nations, but also had a few off Bridges and the newest EP, Bystander. The title track from the EP was definitely one of the highlights, with its soaring vocals, as well as a stripped down and acoustic-y "Where Did You Go?" and the simmering "Fully Shed". And the set came to a dynamic ending with the almost seven minute "Tired of the Comfort", building to an intense climax. And an awesome rock-star-jumping-scissor-kick from Adam.
They mentioned in the set recording a new album, which I am definitely looking forward to.

Setlist (may be a bit off at the beginning)
No Nations, Fully Shed, Seems So Far, Sure Sign, First Time, Where Did You Go, Bystander, I Should Be Born, Heading For Nowhere, Tired of the Comfort.

And then hitting the stage promptly at 8:15 (it was an early show) was Sam Roberts Band. They kicked off with "I Feel You", the lead single off the first album, psyching everyone up right off the bat. From there they played what ended up being a nearly two hour set with songs from all over their catalogue. The whole band had a great energy, especially Sam, but especially guitarist Dave Nugent, who couldn't seem to be still for more than a minute. They definitely had the crowd engaged from the very beginning, too, with lots of singing along, especially to the older hits like "Hard Road", "Where Have All The Good People Gone?" and "Brother Down"; the latter two had Sam hold the mic out for the crowd to sing parts of the chorus.
Most of the set was focused on the faster songs, but there were a couple moments where he slowed it down, like "Lions of the Kalahari", and he swapped for an acoustic guitar a few times, most notably for "Bridge to Nowhere". And while some of the newer stuff didn't quite pop as much as the older, there were still some great moments, like the pounding rhythms and rock sax of "Let It In" and the heartbreaking "Partition Blues". The sun was setting just as he finished the main set with "The Last Crusade" off the new album, but they were, of course, back out for a few more hits, ending the encore with "Them Kids", sending everyone into a frenzy.
At this point I was satisfied, if a little disappointed they didn't play my favourite song, "Mind Flood". But then, my worries were for naught as they hit the stage one more time and launched into its ten minute glory of swirling, psychedelic guitars for an incredible end to an already great show.

Not surprisingly, it was a fantastic show from a pair of bands that never fail to put on a great live show, in one of the cities best venues.

setlist
I Feel You, With A Bullet, Fixed to Ruin, Let It In, Lions of the Kalahari, Graveyard Shift, Hard Road, Up Sister, Partition Blues, Bridge to Nowhere, The Band vs The World, Where Have All The Good People Gone?, Without A Map, Brother Down, The Last Crusade.
(encore), Streets of Heaven (Promises, Promises), Detroit '67, Don't Walk Away Eileen, Them Kids.
(double encore) Mind Flood.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Cracking CD Release @ Media Club -- 05/25/11

Many familiar faces to the Vancouver music scene were at the Media Club last night for the CD release party, and homecoming, of Kenton Loewen's solo project, The Crackling. Loewen has played drums for a good number of local bands, most notably Dan Mangan, so it was no surprise to see a decent sized crowd (for a week day at the media club) out to support him.

First up was White Knife, playing their first ever show. Well, sort of, as the band consisted of Colin Cowan, Chris Kelly and Nick Fabin, formerly known as Analog Bell Service. The set was in the same vein as the last few times I've seen ABS, with the same style of infectious pop songs, crazy energy and good chemistry between the three. There was the usual "Sunglasses at Night" cover, slowing it down and giving it an almost creepy feel, and their own songs ranged in influence from 60s pop rock, to grunge, to straight up rock, but never felt disjointed. One of the highlights was a song that I didn't catch the name of, but started with a bit of an evil whisper/demonic voice from Colin, into slow and almost eerie vibe, before building to an absolutely explosive climax. They ended the set with an older ABS song, "Left The Park", featuring a "Mangan Moment" when Dan joined them for backup vocals, giving a bit of a Punk Mangan performance screaming out the lyrics.
I am not actually sure the reason for the name change of the band, perhaps it was because they streamlined to just three members, but I can't wait to hear what happens next.

Next up was Singing Adams, from the UK. Or rather, just the lead singer Steven Adams. He took the stage alone for a couple acoustic, folky songs before being joined first by Kenton on drums for a song, and then Colin on bass. The two of them played for the rest of the set, and if it's true that they had never met before the day of the show -- with only a half hour practice earlier in the day -- it was pretty impressive. They meshed together quite well, especially by the end; as the set went on, the songs grew in energy and intensity, and it was just fascinating to watch them become more and more comfortable with each other on stage. It ended up being a really fun set, and Adams had a really good stage presence, with more than a few of the songs being really catchy, like "Spit in the Sea".
For the last couple songs Gord Grdina joined them on stage, and they ended with a "Mangan Moment" of their own.

And seeing as most of his band was already on stage, this lead right into the "surprise" of the night (had you not seen it on twitter), a short set from Dan Mangan himself. He played a few songs from his upcoming album, Oh Fortune (due out September 27th) and pretty much blew away the entire room. The title track was pretty much what you'd expect from Dan, but "Post War Blues" was incredibly intense, and a lot more rocking and with more of an edge than anything on the last album, leading up to an absolutely insane ending. "Rows of Houses" was also a bit harder, and hearing them definitely had me eager for the new album.
After the last few times of seeing Dan in sold out, thousand-person-seated-venues it was amazing to watch him play in a venue like the Media Club, even for a few songs.

And with Kenton joking that it would be the only time Dan opened for him, it was time for The Crackling. Also playing with Gord and Colin (who had a really long night!), they had a very folk sound, with many songs following the formula of starting soft and working up to a big finish, but it was a formula that worked so well for them. Loewen had  a voice that went from the a low gravel  to heartfelt highs, sometimes within the same song, and a great charisma and presence on stage -- introducing each song with a story, or just generally joking around.
Highlights included the thematically dark "I Am Your Rogue/Ode to a Woman"; "Keep Me Drunk", which had the last "Mangan Moment", with not only Dan, but the entire crowd helping out on the backing vocals; and "Reticence", a perfect song to end the night on, with the finish seeing every member of the band going balls-out, resulting in a broken string or two.
I don't think there are many bands that would be able to successfully follow Dan Mangan, but Loewen and co. more than held their own, putting on a great set.

I am going to go ahead and call it now, there is a very strong chance that this show will end up on my best of the year list. Four (well, three and a half) great sets of music, and just an incredible vibe of friendship and community the whole night for a show that was just flat out fun.

setlist
The Three of You, A Joke, The Crackling, Of Deceit, I Am Your Rogue/Ode to the Woman, That's The Harm, Keep me Drunk (Dan), Geppetto, Reticence.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Musical Roots: Big Sugar

Regular readers (all seventeen of you) may know I just finished schooling at BCIT, in the Radio Broadcast program. In our second and final, year we take over the station Evolution1079, where we are given rotating jobs. A month ago, I had Musical Roots; a 45 minute 'Ongoing History Of New Music' type program, where we take a close look at a particular topic. Because these ran at 11pm, and because I put a lot of work into these (wrote, voiced, produced... did everything myself) I would like to share it with you, fine reader, as a podcast.

You may remember the previous entries (or you may not, I don't know), but each one was on a different band. I now have three more to share, with the last two being a bit different. But I am getting ahead of myself. First, a band that I have loved for years, and a band that recently got back together, whose new album I am eagerly anticipating. It's Big Sugar. The feature is in three 15 minute segments, and that is how I present them to you. In streaming or downloadable options.

I hope you enjoy it, and I would very much welcome any sort of feedback you may have (positive or negative), either commented here or through the emails at: 3amRevelations [at] gmail [dot] com. Or carrier pigeon. Or yell really loud, and hopefully I'll hear you.


Download Big Sugar pt 1

Download Big Sugar pt 2

Download Big Sugar pt 3

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kathryn Calder @ Biltmore -- 05/20/11

It seems like it's been forever since I had seen a show (two weeks!) and especially one at the Biltmore (two months!!) so I was excited to be able to see Kathryn Calder again, and was interested to see Louise Burns for the first time.

It was an early show, so Louise Burns hit the stage just after 8 with a backing band -- dubbed The Moonshiners -- that included Jody Glenham, Debra Jean Creelman and a couple members of The Raccoons.
Sadly, since no one in this city ever shows up on time, the crowd was still pretty sparse, which is a shame because it was quite a fun set. She played from her debut album Mellow Drama, and while some of the songs had the same kind of sound to them, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing as they were all pretty upbeat and catchy, with a good energy from the band.
The last couple songs were the highlight for me, the single "What Do You Wanna Do" and "Street Walking" which, like the whole set, were driven by Burns' strong voice; and it definitely didn't hurt having pipes like Jody and Debra Jean on backing vocals.

Next was Himalayan Bear, the solo project of Ryan Beattie, guitarist for Frog Eyes. He was joined by Frog Eyes bandmate Megan Boddy on violin and Marek Tyler of Meatdraw on drums (both of which also play with Calder), but the small band belied a much more intricate sound; one that I almost want to call "prog folk". With any more members, it could have turned into a sprawling mess of noise, but the minimalistic nature helped give it a focus. It probably also helped that all three were damn good musicians.
There wasn't much by way of banter though the set, with the band just letting the music speak for itself -- like the five minute plus "Man of Fire", which had just Beattie on guitar and vocals and was incredibly captivating. I will definitely be interested in seeing him live again, and am looking forward to the new album out later this year.

And finally was former Immaculate Machine and current The New Pornographer, Kathryn Calder. She also, of course, released her first solo album almost a year ago, Are You My Mother?, which I really liked, so I was looking forward to seeing her live again.
With Calder switching from acoustic & electric guitars and the keyboard throughout the night, she & her backing band played mostly off the solo album, but also threw in a few new songs, which were quite good. Especially "One Two Three" (if my ability to read an upside down setlist from afar can be trusted) which was a little harder with more of an edge. Made me very interested in hearing more of her new material.
Throughout the set, they went seamlessly from fast and upbeat songs like "A Day Long Past Its Prime" to the slow and beautiful "So Easily"; sometimes even, as with "Slip Away", within the same song. The band had a great energy and stage presence, and Calder had the best charmingly-awkward banter I've seen since Aidan Knight.
They ended the set with another highlight, the fantastically energetic "Castor and Pollux", preceding it by saying it was the last song of the set, and the last of the songs they knew, so that would be it. Which made me and my anti-faux-encore stance happy that they just played right up until curfew.

The night was a really fun trio of bands, and I will definitely be catching any of them live next time I have the chance.

setlist
All It Is, Follow Me into the Hills, If You Only Knew, Turn A Light On, [new song], Slip Away, A Day Long Past Its Prime, Down the River, Arrow, So Easily, One Two Three[?], Castor and Pollux.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

3 Minute Revelations: Kaputt by Destroyer

Combining my joy of production with my false sense of smug superiority in telling you what you should like* -- and since I've clearly failed at keeping up at full album write ups (the last one being over six months ago... yipes) -- here is another instalment of 3 Minute Revelations**

Slowly but surely, catching up on on 2011 albums. At this rate I'll be done... by this time next year! Anyway, another favourite and, spoiler alert: a good chance of it being on my personal "best of" the year.

Here is the Kaputt by Destroyer

Download

*please note blatant sarcasm.
** subtitle: Kirk Takes Three Minutes of Your Life and Awesomes It Up.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

3 Minute Revelations: The King Is Dead by The Decemberists

Combining my joy of production with my false sense of smug superiority in telling you what you should like* -- and since I've clearly failed at keeping up at full album write ups (the last one being over six months ago... yipes) -- here is another instalment of 3 Minute Revelations**

Okay, I'm just a little behind this year, as this is the first 2011 album I want to talk about... five months after its release. Hopefully I'll catch up soon? At any rate...

Here is the The King Is Dead by The Decemberists

Download

*please note blatant sarcasm.
** subtitle: Kirk Takes Three Minutes of Your Life and Awesomes It Up.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oddly Specific Mix. Volume Two.

This post is all Leigh's fault.
A little while ago (ok, a long while ago) I did an "Oddly Specific Driving Mix" that was Driving at dusk on a really nice & warm day with the windows rolled down. I had teased more Oddly Specific playlists, but never really followed through. And then today, I got the following tweet.
LeighE:
@kirkofdoom I need to make an Oddly Specific Playlist for a gray spring day in Vancouver when the traffic outside sounds like the ocean
And so that got the hamster wheel spinning at top speed, and I came up with a collection of songs what were kind of chill, but not too mellow. The kind of songs you'd be listening to on a grey, but not miserable day. It's calm, but there is something just under the surface waiting to break through -- much like the weather on a Vancouver spring day.
  1. The Sun by Aidan Knight
  2. This is Easy by Dead Child Star
  3. Next Train by Miracle Fortress
  4. Television Set by Joel Plaskett
  5. On The Hood by Matt Mays & El Torpedo
  6. Bystander (acoustic) by Jets Overhead
  7. Calm Before The Storm by Imaginary Cities
  8. Galactic Tides by The Dears
  9. Night Windows by The Weakerthans
  10. Please Forgive Me by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  11. Ease Your Mind by Shaun Verreault
Much like the last one -- or any playlist I make, really -- the track ordering was carefully crafted, with the flow of the songs in mind (because I'm music-OCD like that). So if you download the handy zip file located right below, then make sure you listen in the "correct" order!
At least once. Then you can listen in whatever order you want, all willy nilly.

Download it here.

Enjoy, and if you have any suggestions for future instalments of Oddly Specific Driving Mixes, let me know!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

West Coast Pop w/ Yukon Blonde, Sun Wizard & Redbird @ Red Room -- 05/07/11

The penultimate instalment in the West Coast Pop! concert series, this was another one that I was really looking forward to. A band that has proven to be fantastic live and another one I have really been digging for the last couple months, it was sure to be a good one.

Kicking off the night was Redbird. Even though they don't have anything released just yet, I've been able to see them live a couple times this year (and get my hands on a few acoustic tracks) and they just keep getting better every time I see them, which makes me more and more eager for the upcoming EP.
Their too-short-set was full of energy and lots of fun, with Savannah's great voice blending really well with the folky, roots rock sound. "Oh Please My Heart" is a definite earworm of a catchy song, and "No Game", which -- despite not even being released -- has become one of my favourite songs of the year; especially with the far too relatable line "my subtlety sabotages me, so please read between the lines".

Next up was Sun Wizard, another fairly new Vancouver band, who had more of a straight ahead rock sound, with twinges of psychedelia. The four members were focused mostly on playing, with not much by way of stage banter or even too much to engage the crowd (the bassist even had the clich├ęd 'vaguely bored bass player' look). A couple of songs, most notably "World's Got A Handle", sounded great, but most of them were a little interchangeable, with the same kind of sound going on. But they put on a perfectly enjoyable set, and while I might not go too see a show of their own any time soon, I would not be against seeing them live again, and I could definitely see them getting better given time.

And finally, Yukon Blonde. I've had the fortune of seeing them a couple times before, but always as the opening band, so it was great to have them play a longer set. The band always puts on a great live show, and last night was no different. With their incredibly energetic, eardrum-melting power pop-rock and near-perfect harmonies, they had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands, singing along to all the older songs -- with Jeff Innes even handing over the mic to the crowd for part of "Wind Blows". There were also a few new songs sprinkled throughout the set, which were quite good, but taking the cake was one called (according to the setlist) Radio, an intense rocker that I can't wait to hear again.
The only complaint would be that a couple of times, the vocals seemed to be a bit low. But it wasn't a persistent problem, and didn't take away from their set all that much.

setlist (taken from the on-stage setlist, so some new songs may be shorthand)
Rather Be With You, Brides Song, Wind Blows, Oregon Shores, Iron Fist, Water, Blood Cops, Radio, Stairway, Babies Don't Like Blue Anymore, Nico Canmore.
(encore) My Girl, Loyal Man.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Never Surprise CD Release w/ Portage & Main @ Railway -- 05/05/11

Maybe it's because I keep seeing these types of shows there, but the Railway Club is becoming more and more synonymous with good folk and roots music, for me. Last night was a pretty good example with three Vancouver bands out for The Never Surprise CD Release.

First up was The Geese -- or rather two fifths of the band. An acoustic, folky sound driven by guitar and keys, the pair had good chemistry when talking to each other, but it didn't really extend off the stage. They had songs about a variety of things, from robots to death to a cover of "Little Arguments With Myself" by Low, but they all seemed to blend together; none of the songs really stood out. Well, except for the lyrics of the last song, which was the hierarchy of Rock, Paper, Scissors... but that stood out for the wrong reasons. They were by no means bad, they were just kind of... there.

Next up was the band celebrating the release of their CD, The Never Surprise, who were joined by a couple familiar faces, Niko Friesen on drums and Robbie Driscoll on bass. They also had a more folky sound going on, but were a bit too mellow. The songs were good, and there were definitely some talented musicians on stage, they just lacked a punch, or a draw. I fully admit, though, it could have just been because I was tired, so that could have tainted my perspective. I wouldn't mind seeing them again when in a better mindset, maybe be able to fully get into it.
After they wrapped up their set, they were back for an encore with a cover of Cohen's "Suzanne" which was... okay. At least it wasn't "Hallelujah".

And rounding out the night was Portage & Main. Both front men for the band, John Sponarski and Harold Donnelly, were a bit under the weather, but while it was a little noticeable (even if they hadn't kept talking about it) it wasn't detrimental to the set; they still put on a really fun show. Even if the vocals were a bit off, which really only happened a couple times, they were still an incredibly tight band. With more of a roots-y edge than the previous two bands, highlights were the rambunctious "Tonight pt 2", the slower, more country-bent "The Morning After" and "I'd Never Climbed a Mountain" which starts slow, then builds to a great climax.
They ended the night with Savannah Wellman of Redbird joining them on vocals for a second time, and "Carolina", a great sing-along song to end the set with, which even saw a broken string from John.

setlist
Nothing (Take What You Need), What Have I Done, The Morning After, Rocky Mountain Wanderer, When You're Gone, Tonight pt 2, I'd Never Climbed a Mountain, Follow Me My Love, Carolina.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother Mother w/ Brasstronaut @ Vogue -- 05/04/11

Surprisingly, I had never seen Mother Mother headlining a show of their own. Of the handful of times I had seen them, it was always opening for someone or at a festival or something. So I was eager to catch their first of two sold out shows. The second is at the Commodore tonight (with the excellent Rococode opening), but last night was an all ages at the Vogue, with another band who is great live, and I haven't seen a while.

The first time I ever saw Brasstronaut, I knew I wanted to see them in a soft-seat theatre venue. I don't know why, it just seemed really appropriate. So I was definitely excited to see them opening. They played a decent length set, with (I think) a couple new songs; one I didn't get the name of and one possibly called "Prozak". Both were great, keeping with the bands rich and lush sound -- a sound that I am always impressed by, especially live. Among the older songs, "Six Toes" and "Requiem For a Scene" both sounded as great as usual, and they ended with one of my favourite songs of last year, "Hearts Trompet". It built until a grandiose climax, and as it ended, the members of the band left one by one until all that was left was Edo on keys and Brennan exploding on drums.

setlist
[new song?], Six Toes, Hands Behind, Requiem for a Scene, Prozak[?], Slow Knots, Hearts Trompet.

Shortly after (love those curfewed shows) Mother Mother hit the stage to piercing screams, kicking off with a couple older songs before getting into the new album, which made up the bulk of the set. The band had a fantastic energy and presence on stage, somehow managing to engage every single person in the sold out Vogue. And they seemed genuinely blown away from the support of the fans, with Ryan mentioned a couple of times how overwhelming it was to see everyone there.
The songs from the new album sounded great live, with highlights including the raucous "Problems", the almost eerie "Born in a Flash" and of course, "The Stand", which was one of the many songs to get recognition applause and have everyone singing along; a sold out crowd yelling "everybody's fucked and they don't even know". That led seamlessly into "Body of Years", which included a bit of Pixies slipped in, with "Gauge Away" -- appropriate, as Ryan and Jasmine covered the Pixies at One Night Stand, and since they were playing a show of their own across the street -- and the set ended with "Calm Me Down", a perfect song to go out on.
Though they were back for the customary encore, the whole crowd singing along to "Arms Tonight" and ending with an older one, "Verbatim", once more thanking everyone profusely for coming.

It was definitely the best show I have seen Mother Mother put on -- and probably the best for Brasstronaut as well -- for a great all around package of a show.

setlist
Ball Cap, Oh My Heart, Original Spin, Problems, Simply Simple, Oleander, Born in a Flash, Ghosting, Getaway, Baby Don't Dance, Polynesia, Chasing It Down, Angry Sea, The Stand, Body of Years (w/ Gauge Away Pixies cover), Hayloft, Wrecking Ball, Calm Me Down.
(encore) Arms Tonight, Verbatim.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

West Coast Pop w/ Young Liars, Oh No! Yoko and Kingdom Cloud @ Red Room -- 04/30/11

Another Saturday, another West Coast Pop show. This one was focused on young local(ish) talent.

Kicking off the night was Kingdom Cloud. I had heard good things about the young Kelowna band, so was eager to see them live; and they did not disappoint. The trio hit the stage in matching white jeans, blue shirts and scarves and launched into a very energetic set of infectious pop. All three members were brimming with enthusiasm, especially Evan, the lead singer/guitarist and keys, who was all over the stage. And the drummer, who sliced her hand open early on but kept going, despite the blood. They had some great, catchy songs -- with awesome titles like "Turbo Ranger" and "Love Goblin" -- though some of them sounded maybe a bit similar-y.
It was a really fun set to watch, and especially considering they're all pretty young, I have no doubt they'll grow from a good band into a great band sooner rather than later.

Next up was Oh No! Yoko from Abbotsford. With more of a rock edge to their pop, they had good energy, but lacked a little in banter or crowd interaction. They, too, suffered the problem of a lack of variation in songs, but that's not always a terrible thing when the songs are so catchy. The set also included a pretty cool cover of Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule The World". Another young band that has the potential to go on to big things, I will definitely be looking forward to what they do in the future.

And finally was Young Liars, hitting the stage with almost as many keyboards as members. The synth heavy set was full of poppy songs, but at the risk of sounding repetitive myself, they also had some pretty same-y sounding songs. Though as all three bands are still young, with one (or no) albums out, it's a lot easier to cut them slack for something like that. They were a bit lacking in stage presence, too, but still put on an enjoyable set nonetheless.

In all, a good night of music. It's always interesting to see bands progress, and these were three up and comers that will no doubt have bright futures.