ski bum band returned to Vancouver this weekend, bringing their "stoke folk" sound to the Electric Owl.
Opening the night was fellow Peak Performance Project '014 alumni The Wild Romantics.
I had only ever seen them as a duo, the couple Aleisha Kalina and Evan Miller crafting fine folk tunes, but this time they were armed with a full band. And with the full band was a much more rock 'n' roll sound. Their voices came together harmonizing on songs like "A Monday In May", and my favourite of the set, a bit of a sassy song with a bite, "Who You Fooling".
Aleisha and Evan also had a good stage presence, especially as the set went on. They seemed comfortable enough at the beginning, but by the end they were getting more and more playful, leaning on each other and sharing a microphone, and both of them even getting right into the faces of the crowd (literally).
I think they are still a relatively young band, only a couple years old, but they're already off to a pretty good start.
Shred Kelly hit the stage not long after, the five-piece Fernie band started off with a song that encapsulates the band perfectly; Tim Newton slowly plucking his banjo until he picked up the pace to a blurry hand, joined by Sage McBride's lovely voice, the song building to raucous ending. It is a trait shared by many Shred Kelly songs as both the songs and the band exploded off stage with ridiculous amounts of energy. And the Saturday night crowd was more than happy to reciprocate; people dancing and stomping and clapping, even a little crowd surfing, and no less than two rounds of shots and a round of beers was sent up to the stage.
Pulling songs from all three of their albums, highlights included the softer and haunting "Ghost Inside My Head", the frantic "Cabin Fever", and my favourite off of Sing to the Night, "Stuck Between", a bit of a darker song with Sage's powerful voice filling the room. And somehow the band managed to top the energy of the night with the last three songs. The tumultuous "Tornado Alley" lived up to its title; the ridiculously catchy "The Bear", with an impressive run on the keys from Sage and an even more impressive drumming from Ian Page-Shiner; and the huge "Sing to the Night", the voices of Tim and Sage blending together better than ever.
For the encore, they first warmed up everyone's vocal chords with the soft and beautiful "Jewel of the North" before one of the most cathartic singalong songs, "I Hate Work". And as everyone chanted along to the title, the band segued nicely into Loverboy's "Working For The Weekend", during which they split the room for the singalong: one half of the crowd singing along with Sage "Everybody's working for the weekend" and the other half with Tim, chanting "I Hate Work".
When I first saw Shred Kelly, on a train car in Melville, Saskatchewan, I was suitable impressed. And in the few years since, they've barely slowed down -- touring, recording, taking part in the Peak Performance Project -- and have just gotten better and better.
Let It Go, Cabin Fever, Start Again, New Black, Leaving Town, Ghost Inside My Head, White River, Rowed Away, Time Is Passing, Stuck Between, Family Oh Family, Tornado Alley, The Bear, Sing to the Night.
(encore) Jewel of the North, I Hate Work (mashup with Working for the Weekend [Loverboy cover])