Catamaran at The Railway Club

I love bands that aren’t very good yet. You know what I mean? Brand spankin’ new bands that have a lot of potential but are still not quite ready to rock nuts. There’s something about them that’s so endearing that I can’t help but have a good time at their shows despite the fact that things are just a little bit disastrous. Last night’s set by Vancouver locals Catamaran was just such a show. Please keep in mind as I rattle off a list of oddities with their performance that I actually do like these kids a lot, okay? Okay.

SO, first off they had the weirdest stage presence. Chelsea and Joanna flanked the sides of the stage while Bernice played drums in the rear and Drue pretty much hid behind Chelsea all night with his back to the audience. So who was in the centre, leading the charge? Nobody! There was a great big hole in the middle where a lead singer or dancing monkey or something should have been! I seriously felt the compulsion to pull a Soy Bomb just to fill in the gap but one look at Drue’s wolf t-shirt told me “You better check yourself before I wreck yourself.”

NEXT, Joanna’s bass playing. I don’t know if they were playing a lot of new songs, or if she’s pretty new to the bass, but I wish I had a loony for every time her fingers stopped moving on the fretboard and she mouthed the words “Oh shit!”. I could have bought a LOT more peanuts out of the peanut machine. I think I chuckled every time it happened because she always managed to get right back on track after a short pause. Oh, and also she was rocking a t-shirt that said “Fish Worship: Is It Wrong?” and it had a trout on it. Nice!

THEN there were the equipment malfunctions. Amplifier problems, instrument problems. Guitarist Drue blew a string during the set, which was understandable considering the way he plays the hell out of that thing. The best thing that happened all night though, was when they launched into a new song that goes “MURMUR OF THE HEART! IT STOPS AND THEN IT STARTS!” And then they had to stop because the guitar wasn’t working again. That just about made cola shoot out of my nose!

ANYHOO, on to the more positive things about the band. Drue is a really decent guitar and bass player. Same with the girls. And even though most of the pictures I took reflect the fact that everyone spends a little too much time looking down at their hands, I’m sure that will change once they play a few more shows. And Bernice! Holy Christ, can she play the drums! I would say that of all the music I saw last night, she was hands-down the most professional and consistent. All in all, Catamaran is a fun band with a weird name and because they’re so new they should be given a little extra leeway for a while. If I see them a year from now and they haven’t improved, then you’ll read a different sort of review, but I honestly can’t see that being the case. I think they’re swell.

Less-than-great photo by Mace.