Friday, July 29, 2011

Dan Moxon @ CBC Vancouver -- 07/29/11

The Musical Nooner free concert series at CBC Vancouver is back. Well, it's been back for a while now, but despite wanting to see a few of the previous acts, today was the first day I was able to go check it out.

And it was a good day to do so, to see Dan Moxon (of Bend Sinister) fame with a baby grand piano on the outdoor stage, backed by drums & bass. On his own, he was much more mellow -- and a bit more folky -- than the intense energy of Bend Sinister, which gave a great spotlight to his talent on the piano and incredible voice. The set consisted of a good mix of his own songs, some covers, and a couple Bend Sinister songs. Paul McCartney's "Every Night" was covered early in the set, and there was also a slowed down and much more calm version "Julianna", which is one of my favourite BS songs, which was really cool.

Part way through they took a short break for Radio 3 host Lisa Christiansen to interview Dan, before he was back into it with David Bowie's "Starman", "Long As I Can See The Light" by CCR and a few more original., including a couple I really liked, "You Remind Me Of A Girls I Once Knew" and "New Year's Day".

The set came to an end with "All The Young Dudes" by Mott the Hoople, then another Bend Sinister tune, "Don't Let Us Bring You Down". It was actually the second time for that song, since the show was being recorded and fire trucks went by when he played it earlier -- but, of course since the universe has a sense of humour, at almost the same point in the song, police went by, sirens blaring.

It was a really cool show, and I love the concept of the free outdoor nooner shows, so I will definitely have to be back for another. And with upcoming acts like Louise Burns, Sun Wizard, Kathryn Calder & The Crackling... how could you stay away?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Khatsahlano! The West 4th Music + Art Street Festival -- 07/23/11

Another weekend full of music, this time a day of free shows thanks to Khatsahlano! The West 4th Music + Art Street Festival, with West 4th Ave being closed off for several blocks, and five stages of music with dozens of bands throughout the day.

The day started at 11:30 with Kingdom Cloud, and even before noon all three members of the band -- in their uniform white jeans, blue shirts and neckerchiefs -- were full of energy; especially Evan, who was bouncing around the stage, hardly staying still for a moment. Blasting through insanely catchy power-pop songs, with awesome titles like "Love Goblin", "Turbo Ranger" and "Rainbow Road", they were incredibly fun to watch and a good start to the day.

The next act I wanted to catch was Ma Petite, even though I had seen them the night before. The set itself was similar, with charming songs like "I Like That You Like Books" and singer Indiana Avent's nice voice and great sense of storytelling.

From there it was a rush to The Peak sponsored stage where David Vertesi had just started. Most of the sets were only a half hour long that day, so Vertesi only had a handful of songs, which included his awesome cover of "Say You'll Be There" by Spice Girls, which seems to have become a staple of his repertoire, and the infectious "Mountainside" to wrap up his set.

After that there was a bit of a break in the action where we visited a "side party" put on by Zach Gray from The Zolas, on his front lawn. There were just a couple short sets with Hannah Epperson and her amazing violin looping first, then Zach playing a few songs solo. It wasn't too long, but gathered a pretty decent sized group of passer-by's and neighbours, and was a really fun and cool idea.

Then it was quickly back to the Peak stage on 4th for Aidan Knight. He announced it was going to be his last show of the summer, and he'll be back in the studio with his Friendly Friends soon to record a new album.
Started with "Friendly Fires", his set consisted of old and new songs, and of course Knight's great awkwardly charming banter. After the beautiful "Margaret Downe" alone, Aidan called not only his Friendly Friends back out, but also the members of Said The Whale and David Vertesi & Ashleigh Ball of Hey Ocean! to join him for the last couple songs. It was a really cool group jam, culminating in "Jasper", an incredible sight with everyone, on stage and in the street, dancing and singing along.

And finally, to wrap up the day, it was Yukon Blonde. Kicking off with "Babies Don't Like Blue Anymore", their tight sound and great energy as good as ever. Highlights were the rockin' "Bride's Song" and the always great harmonies of "Wind Blows", as well as a few new songs throughout the set. One had Kingdom Cloud and Spencer from Said The Whale on stage to help out, and another -- possibly called "Radio" -- which is hands down my favourite Yukon Blonde song, even though I've only heard it twice, live. They ended the set after a nice cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" and another new one.

and the incredible day of music.

Portage & Main with Julia & Her Piano and Ma Petite @ Nyala -- 07/22/11

It may seem like an odd place for a show, in an African cuisine eatery, but Nyala on Main St hosted some local bands on Friday night that were bound to be a good time.

Up first was Ma Petite, the new project from Aussie-transplant Indiana Avent, which consisted of a few familiar faces, like Treelines' Matt Kelly on keys and banjo. It was the first show for the band, who had an adorable folk pop sound. Avent has a really nice voice, and is a great storyteller as well, with many of the songs full of charm; like "Man About The Moon" and my favourite from the set, "I Like That You Like Books". They also threw in a cover of AA Bondy's "Oh The Vampire"
The set was really intimate and relaxed, with Indiana joking with the band and the crowd throughout the set, but as was the case for the rest of the acts, the sound wasn't the best, which was understandable since it was a restaurant first and venue second. A really good set though, and I am definitely interested to hear more.

Next was Julia & Her Piano, which was not just Julia MacDougall and her piano, but also Andrew Lee (who plays in all the bands) on trumpet. It was her last show here in a while, since she's moving away, and much like Ma Petite, it was pretty intimate with lots of charmingly awkward banter -- the bulk of it being aimed at humiliating Andrew through various stories, which were pretty hilarious; the two play off each other very well, both in song and repartee.
Driven by her piano (obviously) and her strong voice, Julia's music is incredibly catchy folky-pop, with "When The Birds Come Out" and "Some Summer Night" being a couple stand-outs, as well as a new one that she ended the set with, called "Oyster Babe".

And closing out the night was an acoustic set from Portage & Main, also joined by Matt Kelly on pedal steel. They initially had a member on the upright piano that was there, but they quickly found it was not ideal, and switched to the keyboard. As seemed to be the theme of the night, their set was the most laid back I have seen them, with lots of joking and chatting between songs, which was great. It definitely helped that it was a small room with many people who knew each other.
I've see Portage & Main a couple times so far this year, but this was the first acoustic set, and the songs translated perfectly, especially "What Have I Done" and one of my favourite of theirs (or, as they jokingly pointed out, the one I always say "sucks the least") "I'd Never Climbed A Mountain". They, too, slipped a cover into their set, The Stones' "Dead Flowers" and ended with "Carolina", getting everyone to sing along.

As mentioned above, the sound wasn't the best, but I have definitely heard worse, and it was an especially fun night of local talent.

Nothing (Take What You Need), What Have I Done, I'm Going Down Tonight, Follow Me My Love, When You're Gone, Dead Flowers [Rolling Stones cover], Rocky Mountain Wanderer, I'd Never Climbed a Mountian, Carolina.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Winning America

When Said The Whale headed south for small American tour on the way to the final destination, legendary SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, they didn't just bring their determination to break into the elusive American market, they brought a film crew too.

I had the chance to see the documentary last week, and it is a lot more fascinating that I thought it would be -- it's not just another generic "watch a band as they tour" film, but rather a [sometimes brutally] honest look at what it takes for a band -- not just a Canadian band -- to "make it" in the States.

Going from interviewing members of the band in their day jobs to their final show at the China Cloud; their unfortunate robbery in California to playing shows at SXSW in parking lots and record stored for five people; and the infamous Mustard Incident, and it all comes together to end with-- you know what? You'll just have to find out for yourself.

Winning America air on CBC BC tomorrow night (Saturday the 23rd) at 7pm, and rumour has it that it will be streaming for the rest of Canada, America and the World soon after.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

41st & Home EP Release Party @ Biltmore -- 07/18/11

It's always interesting to watch the progression of a band. The first time I saw 41st & Home was at their CD release a little over a year ago. I honestly didn't even know who they were -- I was just going to see Aidan Knight and We Are The City -- and I thought their set was okay.
Between that show and now, they took place in last year's Peak Performance Project, had some minor lineup shakeups, have been selected again for this year's PPP, recorded a new EP, and just gained a lot more experience in general.

First up was Young Liars, who had all the synth on stage with them. Their set was full of upbeat and poppy synth driven songs-- unsurprisingly -- which were good, but seemed to all kind of blended together, without much variation. Despite that, and a bit of a lack of stage presence, they were still entertaining, and a perfectly good choice to open the show.

Oh No! Yoko was up next, who I have heard a lot about to be the next big "it" band. And when I saw them the first time, I thought they definitely had potential -- and still do -- but while their hype have grown massively since then I don't think their talent has caught up to it just yet.
They were joined by Evan Konrad of Bed of Stars on guitar, and they really do put on an energetic live show with some catchy pop-rock, but, much like Young Liars, they didn't seem to have too much variation or depth. Aside from one slower, quieter song, a lot of them bled together, ending and starting abruptly. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike the band, but I sometimes feel like I am one of the few people who haven't bought into the hype, I just don't seem to think they're as utterly amazing as many others seem to.

And finally, it was time for 41st & Home. They took the stage with faces painted, and joined by some friends; Andrew Lee playing trumpet and Christine McAvoy on saxaphone for a few songs. The band has gotten leagues better in the last year -- I'm sure in no small part due to the aforementioned Peak Performance Project -- and it showed right off the bat. Some of their songs still follow the "rise to a grand climax" structure, but their newer stuff especially is a bit more varied. They started off the set with the first couple tracks from their new Raised By Wolves EP, the instrumental "Summons", during which Thom broke a string on his guitar, which led into the handclapping "Modern Medicine". There were some feedback problems during the first few songs, but those were sorted out and not terribly distracting.
Mid way through he set they had even more friends join them when members of The Belle Game and The Ruffled Feathers came out for backup vocals on the intense "Wilderness Eyes" (which was one of the few times Andrew Lee was not on stage, despite the fact that he plays for all three bands sharing the stage) and later for some extra drumming, on the floor in front of the stage, for "Gorbachev". Other highlights were the always grandiose "Eva" and "Hummingbird", which had a very dynamic and intense ending, which was definitely helped out and given depth by the horns and sax backing the band up.
They also brought back the "Tuning Jazz" when Thom needed to tune his guitar, instead of standing around in awkward silence, or try to talk and tune, their keyboard player Patrick played some smooth jazz until Thom was ready to go. They ended the set with the title track, and last song, from the EP, without bothering with the whole faux-encore, which always makes me happy, when bands play straight through through to the end.

They put on a really fun and energetic show, and it's been pretty cool watching them progress as a band. Hopefully they will continue this upward progression to their next full length.
And, hey, they got to play last at their own CD release this time!

Summons, Modern Medicine, Memory Boy, Great Bear, Wilderness Eyes, Hummingbird, Sleeper, Eva, Gorbachev, Raised by Wolves.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival: Day Three -- 07/17/11

Well, Sunday was the final day of the 34th Vancouver Folk Music Festival (see days one and two here).
Luckily the weather decided to be somewhat cooperative, and the rain held off for most of the day. I've heard it was the first VFMF in 15 years that it wasn't a scorching hot weekend, though to be honest I would prefer a little overcast and rain to that -- though I am sure I'm the only one.
But enough about the weather, and on to the music. Sunday was filled with workshops, which are bands/artists sharing the stage to jam together, and a few shows in the evening.

The day started with an 11am workshop called "Independently Minded", with Kathryn Calder, Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans Band and Imaginary Cities, which was without a doubt the best workshop I had seen all weekend. There was lots of jamming and collaboration between the musicians on stage, with the members of The Weakerthans basically playing backup for both Bryson (obviously) but also Imaginary Cities. Calder also jumped in often, at the very least on a tambourine.
Each band played three songs; Kathryn threw in a new song, Jim Bryson's "Decidedly" sounded great, and everyone pitched in to help Imaginary Cities end the workshop with "Hummingbird", which was spectacular.

The next workshop was also up there, in terms of collaboration and sheer fun. "All Fired Up" consisted of Danny Michel, The Burning Hell, Imaginary Cities (again) and Jason Wilson Band. I wasn't too hyped on Jason Wilson Band, they had a bit too much of a Dave Matthews vibe, but the others were pretty great, with members of The Burning Hell being really good about jumping in, much like yesterday. Again, "Hummingbird" was a highlight, and even though it was the fourth time I had heard it that weekend, it didn't get old. The Burning Hell ended their last song with a little bit of "In The Air Tonight" slipped in, and the group finished off the workshop with a pair of covers. First Jason Wilson Band with  "54-46 Was My Number" by Toots & the Maytals and then Danny Michel with Los Lobos' "Life Is Good". Both had near everyone on stage join in, and the ending of "Life Is Good" had the crowd join in on clapping and "Ooh la la", with everyone leaving the stage, resulting in the crowd keeping the song going strong for a couple minutes after they were done.

The third workshop of the day was a "secret" one, in that it wasn't listed in the program, but was on the online schedule. It featured Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three, Wendy McNeill and Elliott BROOD, and seemed a bit shorter than the others, with each band only playing a couple songs. LaFarge was pretty fun, with a crazy washboard player, and McNeill was good as well, but the best part of the set was everyone joining Elliott BROOD for "Miss You Now".

It wasn't long after that that the evening shows started, with Kathryn Calder kicking off the night on Stage 3. Even though I'd seen her a couple months ago (and that morning at a workshop, for that matter) I was still excited to see her play a full set with her band, and she did not disappoint. Even after she mentioned it not raining, only for a trickle to start, as if on cue.
But despite the sogginess, her set was really fun, especially with such energetic and upbeat songs as "A Day Long Past Its Prime" and "Follow Me Into The Hills", and one of my favourites of hers, "Castor and Pollux", which ended the set.
There were also a couple new songs, "Turn A Light On" and "City of Sounds", teasing a new album out in October, which I am eagerly anticipating.

All It Is, Down the River, Slip Away, A Day Long Past Its Prime, If You Only Knew, Turn A Light On, Follow Me Into the Hills, City of Sounds, Arrow, Castor and Pollux.

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans Band was up next, staying on Stage 3. They had a bit of an awkward introduction, and at one point there was a holler for "Tournament of Hearts", so I don't think some people (including the emcee) really "got" the concept behind members of The Weakerthans as Jim Bryson's backing band, but that didn't diminish from being a fantastic set. As well as The Weakerthans, Rusty Matyas from Imaginary Cities was also playing with the band, on keys, guitar and trumpet.
I had seen hints of it during the workshops, but the full set proved what a great storyteller Bryson is, and what an engaging frontman he is, especially when backed by a group of musicians that talented.
A few of the highlights from the set were "Decidedly" and "Up All Night", both really fun songs, as well as "Freeways In The Front Yard", which had Jenny Whiteley out for vocals. The last song of the night, "Wild Love", was probably the most energetic of the set, (finally) getting people to their feet and ended with a bit of CCR's "Proud Mary", getting the crowd to sing along. As it came to a close, members of the band left the stage one by one, with Bryson "firing" them, leaving just him.

There were a few more acts after, on both Stage 3 and the main stage, but at this point everyone was pretty beat, and we figured there wouldn't be a better way to end both the day and the festival than with Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans Band.

So overall, I would say the weekend was an incredible success; I am so glad I got the chance to finally go to the Folk Fest, weather be damned. I wish it had been scheduled a little differently; there were times where three things I wanted to see happened at once and times where there was nothing I wanted to see for a couple hours... But I think there was only one person that I completely missed, everyone else I was able to catch in some form or another, either a full set, a workshop or a tweener.

Now, who's ready for next year?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vancouver Folk Music Festival: Day Two -- 07/16/11

It was a little rainy for day two of the Vancouver Folk Music Fest, (see day one here) but it was just a little wet, it was still good, and the day started early with an 11am workshop. The workshops consisted of three or four bands on stage at once, playing each one of their songs, with the chance for others to join in and jam with them. Sometimes they did that, though sometimes it just ended up being each band playing a song individually.
And again, I will attempt to keep things as brief as I can, but this was probably the most packed day, so no promises.

First workshop was the "Sounds Of Home" with Joel Plaskett, Jim Bryson, The Burning Hell and The Dardanelles, moderated by Joel, who started things off with "Love This Town". They went down the line and each played three songs, with others occasionally joining in. Though the joining in didn't happen too often, but the best at it was members of The Burning Hell, especially their baritone sax. I hadn't seen Jim Bryson live before, but he was pretty good, especially "Metal Girls" (but more on him in day three) and The Dardanelles were definitely a maritime band, with a couple sea shanties. It was a pretty fun workshop, but it would be overshadowed by the two the next day (ooh, foreshadowing!).

The next show for me was one I was looking forward to the most, Imaginary Cities playing a full set. They went on a little late due to some technical problems; which seemed to be persistent on Stage 3, where I spent most of my time at the festival, but with the sheer amount of things on stage for the weekend and the required quick turnarounds, it was forgivable.
They started off with "Say You" and played most of the songs off their amazing debut Temporary Resident. Marti's vocals were amazing live, and Rusty was as great as you would expect.
Highlights were "Ride This Out", one of my favourite songs this year, which starts mellow and then explodes, and the climactic "That's Where It's At, Sam" which ended the set. "Hummingbird" was also fantastic live. It was an incredibly fun set, and I was so glad to have seen them play a full set during the festival.

Say You, Marry The Sea, Ride This Out, Cherry Blossom Tree, Calm By Storm, Temporary Resident, Where'd All The Living Go, Hummingbird, That’s Where It's At Sam.

Soon after, the evening shows started with Danny Michel at Stage 3. I wasn't overly familiar with his stuff, but he won me over in his first song with some cool looping, which I am a sucker for.
He was really fun to watch live, and even if he hadn't told a story about finding one of Paul Simon's apples and trying to plant a Paul Simon Apple Tree from it, I would have been able to tell his influence on Michel.
There were a few songs I recognized through the set, "Maybe You Can In Your Heart", "Feathers Fur and Fin" and "Who's Gonna Miss You", and he brought the show to an end with some more looping -- after having a couple problems with the pedals, but his persistence paid off -- and then some awesome use of sound effects off his iPod, which is hard to describe but awesome to hear.

After him was The Burning Hell again, but this time for a full set of their own. They are a pretty hilarious band, but not in the "novelty song" kind of way, more like clever lyrics and storytelling. Two great examples of that would be "Flux Capacitor", the title track from their new album, as well as "Dance Dance Dance" which had its very own disco break. They also have an incredibly upbeat, folk rock sound, and the combination of both those factors make for an undeniably fun set.
They wrapped up with "It Happens In Florida", an interesting spin on a love song with lyrics like "Love, it’s like a newborn child: seems interesting when it’s young, gets pedestrian after a while", and at the end, lead singer Mathias (and his big bushy beard) was getting the whole crowd to sing along.

Next up was [the legendary] Buck 65, who I had never seen before, so was really interested to see. He had a laptop and turntable and nothing much else on stage, aside from a music stand which he read lyrics to a couple songs off of, and was joined by Marnie Herald for backup vocals, especially for a lot of the songs from 20 Odd Years. The songs were not quite the same without the likes of Jenn Grant and Nick Thorburn, but she did a really good job regardless.
Buck was really energetic and fun to watch, dancing around and hamming it up for the children in the crowd, especially during "BBC", and he was also a great storyteller -- which makes sense with his CBC Radio 2 show Drive -- as he told a tale of going to not just the wrong venue, but the wrong city to play a show in Sweden.
Some other highlights from the set were "Indestructible Sam", which had Emily Wells join him on violin, the incredibly fun "Zombie Delight", which is about exactly what the title implies, and a bit of an experiment... He mentioned he played a festival recently at the same time as John Fogerty, so as a kind of "thanks" to the people watching him, he used "Run Through The Jungle" as the musical bed for "Wicked & Weird", which was pretty amazing. He put on an incredibly fun set, and I would definitely see him live again, given the chance. (Unfortunately, I had to miss his workshops the next day)

Finally, closing out the night was Elliott BROOD. It had been a long time since I had last seen them live, and I was definitely excited to hear their new stuff. And the "death country" trio did not disappoint. Even though there was a couple times that Mark looked frustrated, the band sounded absolutely great.
The awesome instrumental "Chuchwagon" and the new single, "Northern Air", just one of the few new songs they threw into the set, were both a few of the highlights, as well as the bands intense energy. Mark and Casey, who share guitar and vocals, and Stephen on drums all had an incredible energy to them and are amazing to watch live.
After everyone sang along to "Oh Alberta", they handed out the trademark tin pans and wooden spoons -- and after seeing them live thrice before, I finally got one of my own -- to bang along to "This Valley Town", and then for the big finale of "Write It All Down For You" with the whole crowd banging and shouting along to the HEYHEYHEY!'s.
But of course, that wasn't the end, as they were back out for one more, the soft -- or as soft as the Brood can be -- and beautiful "Miss You Now". An amazing set, and definitely one of the highlights of the whole festival.

Well, that's two days down and one to go, with the last day consisting of two absolutely amazing workshops, and a couple other great concerts by Kathryn Calder and Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans Band.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival: Day One -- 07/15/11

For the last few years, I have been wanting to go to the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, but have just never had the chance. This year changed all that, and it was my first ever trip. I was excited, despite the predicted weather, to take in the whole festival, and especially for a few of the bands playing, including the headliner for the first night.
And since I have three days and dozens of artists to cover, I will try to keep things brief.

Arrived a little after six to find space at the Main Stage, hosted by Lana Gay & Tariq Hussain of CBC Radio 3, in time for Freshlyground, a passionate afrobeat from South Africa. Put on a fun and energetic set, getting most people up and dancing for their final song, "Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)", from the 2010 World Cup.

The main stage also had "tweener" acts, which were short, usually acoustic sets to fill the time between main acts. The first tweener I saw was The Burning Hell. With seven members crammed into a small corner of the stage, they played a couple songs and were, as usual, entertaining and funny.

The next main act was Justin Townes Earle, joined only by a stand-up bass. He had a bit of a country twang to his songs, and was an incredible guitar player, using no looping or effects (other than a little reverb), as well as a storyteller, both in his songs and in his stage banter; he had a great personality and stage presence.

CR Avery was the next "tweener", with some slam poetry and harmonica beatboxing (you read that right). Aside from that, he had a couple of more mellow, folk-y songs and ended his short set leading the crowd in a song along.

Next out was Gillian Welch, with David Rawlings backing her up on guitar. She had a really nice voice and both her and Rawlings were great on guitar, which they played for most of the set, but occasionally pulled out the banjo and harmonica a few times; once even for the same song with Welch joking that they are the two most abrasive instruments, and she decided to put them together.
As the set progressed, they got more and more chatty and joked around between songs, and they even came back out for an encore of "I'll Fly Away". She was a great musician, but perhaps a little too country-ish for my tastes, and so her set seemed to go on quite long, but was still quite enjoyable.

The final "tweener" was Imaginary Cities, with Rusty & Marti coming out for a quick acoustic set including the massively infectious "Hummingbird" and a cover of Cake's "Mexico". I hadn’t seen them live before, and this was cool, but just a teaser for their full show tomorrow.

And finally, it was time for Joel Plaskett Emergency. It was almost exactly two years since I had last seen Joel, so I was more than a little excited. The Emergency was pretty minimal, as Joel was just backed by drums & bass, but that didn't mean they were not going to completely rock out.
The set spanned most of the Emergencies catalogue, kicking off with "Come On Teacher", and even included a couple new songs, one called "I’m Yours" and one that he didn't name (but I will dub "Lightning Bolt"), which was absolutely amazing; and mark my words, when it's recorded, it will be his next huge hit. Part way through the set the band stepped out for Joel to do a couple on his own, but came back gradually for  "Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'" and the rest of the set.
Throughout the show, Plaskett proved time and again what an amazing performer he is, with great presence and some of the best storytelling, especially on things like "Work Out Fine" where he wove a story of his old cat Whitefang throughout the song.
They "ended" with everyone singing along to "Nowhere With You" and "Extraordinary" before the encore, with a trip back in time to 1999 for Thrush Hermit's "From the Back of the Film", which was an amazing way to end off the night, and the first day of the festival.

Come On Teacher, Through & Through & Through, Let Me Down, Maybe We Should Just Go Home, Lightning Bolt [?], Face of the Earth, Light of the Moon, Rollin' Rollin' Rollin', I'm Yours, Natural Disaster, Work Out Fine, Nowhere With You, Extraordinary.
(encore) From the Back of the Film

Stay tuned for day two which has a workshop, more Imaginary Cities, my first time seeing Buck 65 and the insane Elliott BROOD. (Also, better pictures since I remembered the batteries for my actual camera, not just my cell phone snaps)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hey Rosetta! @ Peak Performance Lounge -- 07/15/11

Since The Peak began having shows in their performance lounge, I have wanted to go, but just never had the chance (they're all win-to-get-in). But earlier today Hey Rosetta! dropped by and I was lucky enough to be able to go. It was an intimate, acoustic show in the lounge with about 50 or so people, and sofas arranged for comfortable viewing. (But also stool-chairs for slightly less than comfortable viewing).

The band played a handful of songs, and even stripped down they managed to pack a powerful punch of emotion to the songs. They played a few of their slower songs, starting with "Bandages" and also the absolutely beautiful "Red Song", one of my favourites of theirs that I don't think I've seen them play live. But they also managed to rock out with "Welcome", and they ended the set announcing they were going to do a cover -- I was hoping it would be "Time After Time" like earlier this year, but it ended up being "Do What You Can Do" by The Constantines.

It was a short, but still great show, and I was glad I was able to catch them since I will miss them tonight (they're playing Deer Lake Park with The Tragically Hip, while I will be enjoying Joel Plaskett Emergency at the Folk Fest.)

Bandages, Young Glass, Red Heart, Red Song, Welcome, Do What You Can Do [Constantines cover].

Memphis @ Media Club -- 07/14/11

Be it Stars, Dead Child Star or Memphis, I've really enjoyed every band Torquil Campbell has been a part of, so given the chance to see Memphis (again) in an intimate venue like the Media Club, there was no option not to go.

First up though was Vancouver's Lovers Love Haters, which is fronted by Debora Cohen formerly of the post-punk-inspired band The Organ. Had a new wave-ish sound, supported by Cohen's deep vocals. Though though they seemed to be a bit low, and lost in the mix at times. They played a decent set, though many of the songs sounded a bit same-y, and they didn't have too much of a stage presence. They slipped in a cover too, “Arabian Nights” by Siouxsie And The Banshees, which actually kind of sounded a lot like the rest of their songs. But they were still pretty enjoyable to watch, and a perfectly good choice of opening band.

Then it was time for Memphis, with Torquil Campbell & Chris Dumont, joined by a few others to round out the band. Between them and Stars, I've seen Torquil live about seven times, and I am always impressed. He's so energetic and full of passion, and whatever the venue, be it a giant seated theatre or small intimate club, he pours out his soul on stage.
He was his usual outspoken and cheery self, too, dedicating “Apocalypse Pop Song” to Gordon Campbell -- whom he had a few choice words for -- and introducing “A Little Place In The Wilderness” with “here's to the end of the world; it can't come soon enough”. But he also had his fair share of more lighthearted moments, joking around, and genuinely grateful for everyone coming out.

Highlights of the set included the haunting “5 Loops” and the catchy “I'll Do Whatever You Want”, and near the end when Torquil lampshaded the whole encore concept. He proclaimed it was their last song, but then we would clap wildly and they would, of course, be back. They then launched into the immensely fun and infectious “Incredibly Drunk on Whiskey”, before coming back out for said encore with just Torq & Dumont for an older song, “The Language of Birds” before declaring the set “officially” over... but actually ending with a cover of Pet Shop Boys' “Love Comes Quickly”.

Like Lovers Love Haters, there were a couple points where the vocals seemed a bit low, but aside from that, it was a great set, and hopefully it's not another five years until the next one.

I Dreamed We Fell Apart, Apocalypse Pop Song, I Want The Lights On After Dark, 06/21/00, In The Cinema Alone, 5 Loops, Time Away, I Am The Photographer, A Little Place In The Wilderness, I'll Do Whatever You Want, What Is This Thing Called?, Incredibly Drunk on Whiskey.
(encore) The Language of Birds, Love Comes Quickly [Pet Shop Boys Cover]

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sidney York @ Library Square and also Treelines @ Electric Owl -- 07/12/11

It ended up being a busy Tuesday (of all nights) which resulted in a little bit of venue hopping. I was incredibly excited to see Sidney York for the first time, at the weekly Higher Learning shindig at Library Square, but first there was a stop at Electric Owl for Hair-E-Oke, an event centred around local photographer and all around awesome person Christine McAvoy chopping off 8 inches of her hair to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society.

But before she trimmed her trademark tresses, we were treated to a short set from Treelines. Even though it was only a handful of songs, they were as energetic as ever, with Matt Lockhart drenched in sweat two songs in. They played a trio of new songs, which should be out on an EP later on this year, that all sounded pretty cool; though for one of them, which was a bit of a slow burner, there were some speaker or audio problems that were a little distracting. The problem wasn't consistent through the set, but popped up again during the last song, "Ghost Towns". It wasn't enough to ruin the show, but was enough to be annoying. Despite that, it was the usual fun set that you get from Treelines.
They also mentioned that all proceeds from the sales of "When I Get Grown" from Bandcamp will also be going to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Summer Song, Linked Arms, "Banger", "Slow Burner", When I Get Grown, Young Man, Statuette, Ghost Town.

(two of these songs are as-yet-unnamed; can you guess which?)

From there it was a quick hop over to Library Square for Sidney York. Unfortunately I missed the opening band, Vows, the solo project of Chris Kelly (of White Knife né Analog Bell Service) and got there just at Sidney York's first song was wrapping up. Her backing band included members of Hey Ocean!, BeekeeperRococode and York went between guitar and keys, with the sound rounded out with a woodwind section with an oboe and a bassoon.

Before the show itself, though, I think Library Square is now officially one of my least favourite "venues" in the city, as the band is pretty much just set up in a weird corner of the pub, and the sound was really not that great. At all. But despite that, Sidney York put on one hell of a show. Everyone in the band was full of energy, but especially Sidney, who had a great presence, and was incredibly captivating.

The first song was "Dick & Jane", which I was sad to have all but missed, but she hit just about every song off her new album, Apocalyptic Radio Cynic, which has been my favourite "surprise" albums of the year. The infectious "Roll With Me" and somewhat dark "Math & Fractions" were a couple of highlights. Mid way through the band took a break and Sidney played "Falling" from her first album solo, which was a fantastic showcase of her vocal talents. The band came back and wrapped up the set with a pair of songs that York introduced as a bad way to react to to a breakup, "Stalker", and a good way to react, "Mile High Love", which is one of my favourites off the album. After the usual fake-leaving, they came back out for the expected encore -- with Devon Lougheed even lampshading the whole practice -- for another song that was (I think) off the first album, and was a good song to end the set on.

Mediocre sound notwithstanding, Sidney York and her band put on a really good show, and I can't wait to see her again, hopefully at a better venue. And hopefully sooner rather than later. If it was this enjoyable at a place like Library Square, I can only imagine what it would sound like at somewhere like the Media Club or Biltmore.

Dick & Jane, Doctor Doctor, Tea As It Should Be, Apocalyptic Radio Cynic, Math & Fractions, Falling, Cold In Here, Roll With Me, Stalker, Mile High Love.
(encore) [mystery song]

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Preview: Vancouver Folk Music Festival. July 15 - 17

It's almost that time of year! The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is back for its 34th year this weekend, from the 15th through 17th at Jericho Beach.

Despite always wanting to go, I have somehow never made it to the festival, until now! And what a year to go for the first time. Here are a few of the artists I'm looking forward to most, and are just a fraction of the full lineup.

Joel Plaskett Emergency - Come on. It's Joel. Reason enough to hit the festival. Be it solo or with the Emergency, Plaskett is always incredible live, and I wouldn't miss a chance to see him. Sure to be a great ending to the Main Stage on Friday.

Buck 65 - I have been a fan of Rich Terfry for a while now, but have never taken the chance to see him live, which I am very glad to correct. I've heard he is quite the live performer. He'll be playing on Stage 3 Saturday night.

Imaginary Cities - Quite possibly the act I am most anticipating. I absolutely love their debut album, Temporary Resident, but have not yet seen them live. From what I've heard, they're live show is just as good, if not better, than the album.
They are playing during the day Saturday, as well as a "tweener" set Friday night. And they're doing a free Musical Nooner at CBC Vancouver on Friday.

Elliott BROOD - I am hoping the pans and wooden spoons will be out in full force, and for a preview of their upcoming album, Days Into Years, which is due out in September. A veritable force of nature live, they're right after Buck, closing out Saturday on Stage 3.

Kathryn Calder -Formerly of Immaculate Machine and currently of The New Pornographers, Calder's solo stuff is about as great as you would expect from that pedigree. I've had the chance to see her live a couple times in the last year, but I am always looking forwards to seeing her again. She'll be opening Stage 3 Sunday night.

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans Band - Members of The Weakerthans joined Jim Bryson last year for The Falcon Lake Incident, and I am definitely looking forward to these two powerhouses coming together. They'll be hitting Stage 3 after Calder on Sunday.

Jess Hill - She won the Ukulele Competition, meaning she'll get to play this song Sunday evening on the main stage. Regular readers know how much I like Jess, so I am glad she won and am looking forward to seeing her, if only for a song.

And that doesn't even begin to cover the immense number of bands playing or workshops. You can check out the whole festival schedule with these two convenient links: Daytime Workshops Schedule and Evening Schedule.

Hope to see you there?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Live w/ Hey Ocean!, We Are The City, The Belle Game & Aidan Knight @ Stanley Park -- 07/10/11

It was the final night of Summer Live, a free outdoor festival at Brockton Point in Stanley Park to celebrate the 125th birthday of Vancouver (see bloggery about night two here) and they were determined to keep the great bands coming -- as well as the headache and heartbreak of overlapping schedules.

The day started a little earlier than the previous, for me anyway, as Victoria's Aidan Knight took the Trail Stage at 4pm to a nice sized crowd. He started off the set with "Friendly Fires", off his latest 7", followed by a couple of new ones -- one of which I had heard before and really like, which I dub "Jean Baptiste" (playing the guess-the-name-of-the-new-song game). A couple songs in he realised he forgot a capo, so while flugelhorn-extraordinaire Julia Wakal ran to grab it, it was Story Time with Aidan Knight. That, combined with a story he told later about "North East South West", were great examples of Knight's charmingly awkward banter. There was another new one in the set, the incredibly beautiful "Margaret Downe", and he played the song "The Sun" just as the star The Sun was coming out from behind the clouds. And after an intense ending to "Knitting Something Nice For You", the set came to a close as Aidan's shows usually do; With an extended intro to draw out the anticipation, he launched in to "Jasper", with many people singing along. As usual, a great set from Aidan, and I was relieved as the Trail Stage seemed to have better sound that the main stage, one thing that bugged me the previous day.

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

Up next was The Belle Game, once again joined by Andrew Lee of The Ruffled Feathers. With their rich and textured chamber pop sound, I was interested to see how they would turn out on an outdoor stage, and they managed to sound pretty amazing, unsurprisingly. They were incredibly tight and brimming with so much energy that they were just fun to watch.
Along with their own songs, they slipped in a pretty good cover of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire", and they ended with what was probably my favourite of the set, "I Left This Place". But as they were called back out for an encore by the persistent cheering, they shyly came back and admitted they didn't know any more songs, and if they did do one more, it would be one they already played. The crowd did not seem to care in the slightest and they returned to [re]play their single "Sleep To Grow", which was... interesting. Definitely the first time I had seen that done. But they managed to make it fresh and it was definitely memorable.

There was a bit of a lull next, some time to relax and I caught the last bit of the VSO and the first song from Spirit of the West on the main stage before heading back for Kelowna's We Are The City. No matter how many times I see them live (pretty sure this was number 12), they never fail to blow my mind with how good they are. And last night was no exception, as they all so intense. They sounded as good as ever, and the "new" guitarist Blake has meshed with Andy & Cayne incredibly well.
The set started with a twist and Andy on vocals for "Dark/Warm Air", before Cayne took over again for "Morning Song". Each and every member had unparalleled energy; Cayne jumping around when he could, Blake breaking the strap on his guitar from rocking out so hard, and Andy needing a new kick pedal at one point. There was also the usual funny banter, including tales of Cayne & Andy attending a wedding dressed as pirates, and Andy (reluctantly) showing off his chest hair, which is not quite at Sean Connery levels of fur, to what he thought was just the front row, but he forgot about the jumbotrons.
After a few more songs, including "Time, Wasted" -- which at least one person in the crowd was actually in tears for (not me) -- and one of my favourites, "Astronomers", Cayne took over guitar duties for "1987", which led into "An Angel In White", and they ended off the set with "Get Happy". They too were being cheered for an encore, but Andy came out apologetically and said that was all they had, and thanked everyone again.
Seeing them live always just reinforces why they are one of my favourite bands.

Dark/Warm Air, Morning Song, There Are Very Tiny Beasts In The Ground, Happy New Year, Time Wasted, That's It That's All, April, Astronomers, 1987, An Angel In White, Get Happy.

Then was time for an incredibly difficult decision: Dan Mangan or Hey Ocean!. Aside from a couple songs at the Valentine's Day show, I hadn't seen Hey Ocean! in a little over a year, and had seen Dan thrice since then, so using that logic, I stuck to the Trail Stage for Ashleigh Ball, David Vertesi and Dave Beckingham, or as they're collectively know, Hey Ocean!. They were joined by a few others to round out the band, including Devon Lougheed of Beekeeper, and I had forgotten what an incredibly fun band they are to watch live. All the members full of energy, especially Devon, but especially lead singer/flautist Ashleigh Ball, who was dancing and twirling all over the stage.
They had a ton of fun with their songs, too. "Fish" came complete with the bubble makers, and there were a few covers slipped in. One full song -- "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes which ended with all the members huddled around the drum kit playing it -- and a few songs ended with a couple verses added on to the end. "Make A New Dance Up", my favourite of their new songs, ended with "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", "Jolene" went into Coldplay's "Fix You" and there was a little of "Where It's At" by Beck at the end of "Beatboxer (Who Broke My Heart)", the song that epitomized the band's sheer amount of fun; Ball's rapping, Beckingham's beatboxing, and Devon playing MC as each member exuded joy.
They ended the night with another highlight of the set, a song I didn't catch the name of, but featured a little bit of harmonized rapping at the beginning. Yeah.
And while I am a little sad I didn't get to see Dan, didn't see 10,000 people singing "Robots" or see Aidan join him on stage to sing "Jasper", I do not at all regret picking Hey Ocean!, as they put on an incredibly fun show.

In all it was a spectacular couple of days, and I really hope the city decides to do something similar (if not on as big a scale) next year. Who says birthdays have to be celebrated on fives and tens?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Live w/ The New Pornographers, Neko Case & Hannah Georgas @ Stanley Park -- 07/09/11

All year the city of Vancouver has been celebrating its 125th year, and this weekend is one of the events I have been looking forward to most: Summer Live; a weekend of free shows in Stanley Park, showcasing Vancouver talent. The first night, which I had to miss, had Mother Mother headlining, but with the lineup they had for the second night, I knew nothing was going to keep me from it.

There was music happening nearly all day, but I showed up at 6, just in time to see the gorgeous Hannah Georgas. The sound for the whole event wasn't really that great, but Hannah seemed to have the worst least good sound. The drums especially seemed a little loud throughout the set, but that aside, it was quite enjoyable. Joined, as usual, by Andrew Braun & Johnny Andrews of Rococode and Robbie Driscoll of everyone (seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I've seen him play with a different band...), she started off with “Chit Chat”, and a few more from This Is Good before a couple new songs, mentioning a new album in the works, which I am eagerly anticipating. “Your Ghost” and "All I Need", off The Beat Stuff EP, were definite highlights of the set, and she ended, after wishing Vancouver a happy birthday, with "The Deep End".

Chit Chat, Bang Bang You're Dead!, Lovers Breakdown, Thick Skin, Dancefloor, [new song], [new song], The Beat Stuff, Let's Talk, Your Ghost, The National, All I Need, The Deep End.

Next up was the person I was most anticipating for the day, Neko Case. It had been over two years since I last saw her live (not counting shows with The New Pornographers), so saying I was just a little excited is an understatement. She started, and ended, for that matter, with songs I didn't recognize, but the bulk of her set was off her last two albums Middle Cyclone and Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, with a few new ones thrown in. The new songs sounded great, and her voice was, as usual, simply amazing. From lulling the crowd with the softer songs like "That Teenage Feeling" to knocking people over with sheer power on songs like "People Got A Lotta Nerve", her voice in unparalleled. Another thing that makes Case so enjoyable live is her great banter and sense of humour on stage, especially between her and backup vocalist Kelly Hogan.
They, too, had some technical difficulties, but it is always incredible seeing Neko Case live, and I just hope it's not another two years before I get to see her again.

[mystery song], Maybe Sparrow, People Got A Lotta Nerve, Fever, The Pharaohs, Hold On Hold On, That Teenage Feeling, Middle Cyclone, [new song], Margaret vs. Pauline, [new song], Vengeance is Sleeping, I'm An Animal, I Wish I Was The Moon, Red Tide, [new song], This Tornado Loves You, [mystery song].

After Case I rushed over to the second stage to catch the last bit of The Zolas. As I got closer, I could hear the shrieks of the crowd, and Zach introduce a song as “about sex... or the lack thereof...” and I rounded the corner just in time for “Body Ash”. I only caught four songs, but they were as good as I've seen them; Zach especially seemed to have more energy than usual, bounding around stage. They “ended” with “Pyramid Scheme” -- which I don't think I had ever seen live, so I was happy to hear it -- before coming back (they acknowledged the faux pas of doing an encore while not the headliner, saying Said The Whale insisted) with “You're Too Cool”, which ended with a crowd sing-a-long.

(partial) setlist
Body Ash, These Days, Pyramid Scheme.
(encore) You're Too Cool.

At that point I made the executive decision to head back over to the main stage for The New Pornographers, and miss Said The Whale. Even though I have had bad luck with STW shows this year, I had still seen them thrice since I last saw The New Pornos. Plus... it's The New Pornographers!
They kicked off the set mentioning that Kathryn Calder was running late -- Case threatened to ground her, “With [her] grounding stick” -- so they started off with a couple older ones until Calder arrived. (To be fair, it was kind of insane getting to Stanley Park). From there they played for over an hour, hitting songs from all their albums, with loads of singing along.
Highlights of the set were "Adventures In Solitude" (despite the crowd's terrible offbeat clapping) and especially “Testament To Youth In Verse”, one of my favourites; though it just wasn't the same without Dan Bejar. In fact, I was a little disappointed that Bejar wasn't there at all, but of course it was still a great show regardless. They ended with one of my favourite songs of ever, “The Bleeding Heart Show”, which was an absolutely perfect way to cap off the day.

The Slow Descent into Alcoholism, All For Swinging You Around, Challengers, Moves, Sweet Talk Sweet Talk, Use It, Adventures in Solitude, Crash Years, All The Old Showstoppers, What Turns Up In The Dark, The Laws Have Changed, Testament to Youth in Verse, Your Hands (Together), Mass Romantic, Sing Me Spanish Techno, The Bleeding Heart Show.

It was a fantastic day of music, and I am now convinced that Hannah Georgas and Neko Case need to tour together... but I have to admit, it did end on a little bit of a sour note. During The New Pornographers final song, I could see something thrown on stage – looked like a water bottle – which just reminded me of the video of Case snapping when a CD was thrown on stage at a show.
After the song the set was done and nothing was said, but after the usual cheering, there ended up being no encore. I chalked it up to curfew, but according to Chris Coburn of The Peak, who was emceeing, there was no encore because Case did not want to go back out due to the thrown object. Which, good. Artists should not have to deal with that kind of crap, and as much as I wanted an encore, I fully support them in not going back out.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

David Vertesi w/ Steph Macpherson @ Railway -- 07/06/11

Going to a lot of shows -- especially a lot of local acts -- means that you are bound to see some people multiple times. David Vertesi and Steph Macpherson are both among my "most seen" so far this year, but that didn't stop me from wanting to see them together at the Railway.

There was a little bit of déjà vu as Steph Macpherson took the stage first. She was again joined by Savannah Leigh Wellman on backup vocals, but unlike her show there two weeks prior, she did not have a full band, rather just another guitar player. As a side note, I think every time I have seen Steph perform, it has been with a different configuration of musicians.
Not unexpectedly, it was a good set, with the new songs sounded great, especially the incredibly infectious "Summer Song", and definitely had me interested in what was to come. Steph also kept crowd involved, clapping along to "Summer Song" and providing stomps and snaps to "Something In You"

Toronto's Megan Bonnell was up next, Just her at the piano, with a drummer occasionally backing her up. Her music was enjoyable, if a little bit similar-y at times, but it was her voice that kind of bugged me. It was a strong voice, but has a little bit of a Bjork-thing going on, which I have never really been a fan of. But that aside, she was quite good, with a nice intensity and passion while playing, and I quite liked her set nonetheless.

David Vertesi rounded out the night, started with a low and soft, but intense new song and then launching into the undeniably catchy "Mountainside". He had a full band with him, and while I've liked his solo sets, the full band just gives him the chance to cut loose. His set was mostly songs off his album Cardiography, which is a collection of great, emotional songs with David's smooth baritone that definitely broke some hearts (or people).
Vertesi's also joked with the crowd a bunch, coming up with an "Indie Rock Band" game highlighting the "glamorous" life it would simulate, and talked about beating Zelda and feeling nostalgic, before launching in to a cover of "Say You'll Be There". That's right, Spice Girls. And it was a pretty great cover, spurring a group of girls up front for a spontaneous dance party.

It was a great set by Vertesi, and a solid night of music overall.

[New Song], Mountainside, Broadcasting, All Night All Night All Night, Learn To Run, Caroline! A Ghost!, Say You'll Be There [Spice Girls cover], Cardiography, Soft Skin, Gentlemen Say.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 2011 Polaris Short List

It's that time again; the people at the Polaris Music Prize have announced the short list of the ten albums in contention for the "best full-length Canadian album based on artistic merit, regardless of genre, sales, or record label". This year the prize money has been bumped up to $30,000, and for the first time each of the other nine albums on the short list will receive $2,000. Any album (more than 30 minutes/8 tracks long) out from June 1st 2010 to May 31 2011 is eligible. 
Past winners have been Final FantasyHe Poos Clouds (2006) Patrick WatsonClose to Paradise (2007) CaribouAndorra (2008) Fucked UpThe Chemistry of Common Life (2009) and KarkwaLes Chemins De Verre (2010) and the big gala announcing the winners goes down on September 19th.

So let's see how this year stacks up, shall we? Here they are, in a vague order of the ones I personally want to win least to most.

House of Balloons
The Weeknd
New History Warfare Vol 2: Judges
Colin Stetson
Tigre Et Diesel

Long Player Late Bloomer
Ron Sexsmith
Creep On Creepin On
Timber Timbre

Feel It Break
Native Speaker

The Suburbs

Hey Rosetta!


I think this year I have only listened to half the albums in full, so I can't really give too many opinions so far. The Weeknd is the only one on the list that I have just not liked; "not my thing", maybe. Colin Stetson, I just don't get. I mean, I understand the musicianship behind it, and if there is indeed no looping, it is impressive, but I just can't get into it. Maybe if I listen to the full album I will appreciate it more. Both Timber Timbre and Austra I like okay, but need to listen to more. Braids I want to like a lot more than I actually do. Arcade Fire seems to be the "lock" to win, which is exactly why I think it won't. Polaris has never been predictable in the past, why start now. Hey Rosetta! and Destroyer have both been among my favourite albums this year, so those are my top two picks. It would be great if Hey Rosetta! won, but I would love to see Dan Bejar take it.
If nothing else, it is going to be an interesting couple of months, for debate and music listening. I may revisit this post closer to the date when I have more time to digest the list and listen more to the albums in question.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Tom Fun Orchestra @ David Lam Park -- 07/04/11

As the Vancouver International Jazz Fest wrapped up for another year, they put on a day of free shows at David Lam Park, and closing out the festival was one of my favourite live bands, The Tom Fun Orchestra. I've seen them twice before, in small clubs, and while both were amazing shows it was really cool to see them on a big outdoor stage on a beautiful evening.

They took the stage seven members large with no two members playing the same instrument (well, if you count acoustic & electric guitars as separate) and launched into a new song, "Miles Davis". It was a perfect song to start the set, with a great energy, and they even slipped in a few covers; a verse from "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, and some of Bonnie Tyler's "It's a Heart Ache". From there the set was a a mix of old songs, from 08's You Will Land With A Thud, and new ones. They didn't mention when/if a new album was due, but if the live songs are any indication, it will be pretty amazing.
The new songs sounded very "Tom Fun", their eclectic mish-mash folk, roots, blues, rock and punk, which is complimented perfectly by Ian MacDougall's gravely, raspy vocals. I didn't catch the name of most of the new ones, but my favourite started off calm and exploded into the usual Tom Fun cacophony of noise.
They brought the set to an end with "You Will Land With A Thud", somehow topping the energy that they had all night, which was no easy feat. You could tell throughout the set that they were having loads of fun, with MacDougall talking and joking between songs, from effectively stalling while they fixed a couple technical difficulties, to praising the crowd and city skyline, to inviting a couple people in cardboard robot heads from the crowd on stage to dance.

And while there were a couple small technical difficulties through the set, as mentioned, they were mostly nothing too distracting, except for one; the female vocals (not Carmen Townsend, but I didn't catch her name) were a little too low, so sometimes you couldn't hear her. But that aside, it was an incredibly fun set, and I already can't wait to see them again, and especially for the theoretical new album.