New Music West 2008 – Final Day, Part One
Well, calamity struck yesterday and I didn’t get to attend ANY shows but don’t you worry kids because I’m making it up to you today! Are you ready? Here it is! The six-bands-in-one-night (May 17th) revue! Woo!
The Media Club – 7pm
This is one of the shows that I didn’t make a special plan to attend, but seeing as though they were really the only band playing in the earliest time slot, and also considering that I was going to the Media Club to review the band that played after them, I figured I’d go down early and catch their set as well. One minute after walking through the door I was very glad I did. The black and white clad rock/pop/funk outfit from Van City were in full effect when I got there, rocking their hearts out with the fun intensity of a band that not only likes to play music, but genuinely like to be in a band together. A new song (which I didn’t get the name of!sorry!) which they just finished on Wednesday was played as flawlessly as the rest of their set. Lead singer Sammi Morelli has a voice that, if you caught the Shout Out Louds openers back in October of last year, would remind you of Aja Volkmann from the band Nico Vega. She possesses enough juice to seriously overpower the band and turn everything in to a Christina Aguilera fiasco, but restrains herself just enough so that vocals and music accompany each other perfectly. Lead guitarist Jared Sinclair and bassist Nick Fengler are as good as any band I’ve seen this festival, and drummer Alonso Martinez plays with an intensity that is awesome to watch. All in all, the second best band I saw tonight. Oh, and they played a killer version of The Beatles “˜Come Together’ made special by the fact that they didn’t try to “make it their own” . Sometimes it’s nice to just hear a cover played like the original (I’m lookin’ at YOU Cat Power!)
The Media Club – 8pm
There’s a philosophy in the climbing world that goes “The less equipment you have to use, the less can go wrong.” Yesterday’s Forgotten, another local band, seem to eschew this line of thinking, operating in the three-man, no fooling around, black t-shirts and jeans tradition of the genre. Lead singer Ryan Forsythe hits the mic with a somewhat Matthew Good style of ballad singing. And while he doesn’t actually sound like Matt Good, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a strong influence there. Brendan Simpson cold rocked the bass while a sporting white headband like he’d just come in from sanding Mr. Miyagi’s deck all afternoon (left-a circle, right-a circle, breathe in, breathe out). And drummer Brandon Carter, interestingly enough, has a name that is spelled with different letters than the bass player even though they sound exactly the same! While the band is technically proficient, I couldn’t help but compare them to the first-album-era Tragically Hip. You know, back when they gained all of their arsehole fans that that still haven’t been able to shake off. Please don’t get me wrong though. There is nothing wrong with Yesterday’s Forgotten. It’s just that they really don’t seem to have figured out what direction they’re going in. Their songs lack any meaning for the audience and this seems to be symptomatic of Forsythe not knowing what to say or how to say it. Lyrics like “It’s no wonder we feel so alive, weeeeeeeeeee breaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” , while filled with emotion, don’t actually mean anything and lead the crowd to do things like look up at the Media Club ceiling and wonder “What’s stuck up there? That looks like band-aids!” They’re an alright pub band, but if they want to be more than this – and I believe they have the potential to be just that – they’ll need choose a direction first.
Pat’s Pub – 9pm
Unlike many of the rock/punk bands I’ve seen over the last few days, Vancouver’s own The Void chose to open their set with a song that was slower and really showcased their lead singers vocals. He really landed butter side up baby, I’ll tell you what! It was nice to see a male frontman have the confidence to open a set in this way. God, was it ever! One thing that was apparent immediately was how easily this band shifts between different genres of music, often switching from punk to an almost reggae style and then back again, usually within the same song. I was often like, Oh what??? Also, it’s nice to see a band genuinely having a good time on stage, and this band seems to be having a blast! I should know. “There was a horrible sunburn incident!” joked one band member while explaining where their cellist had gone. It was definitely a good one, because apparently someone fell asleep on the deck of a ferry during yesterday’s blistering heat. While some bands like this blend into the sonic hum-drum of alt-rock!
I’m bored with this review now. After The Void’s set I had to run for 20 minutes flat-out to make sure I didn’t standup my friend Sarah who had escaped her baby for the night and came out to party hard. No shit! Ghetto Main and Hastings to halfway down Richards Street! Next review!
The Penthouse – 11pm First off I should preface this review by pointing out what a dumb-ass I am. Yes! Just for you loyal readers of Ronatron! I was waiting outside of the Penthouse for my friend and sometimes sister Sarah to show up and I was talking to some people in a group when one guy goes “Hey man, what do you think of MAN PARTY?” So, typical me, I go “Oh my god! Who the fuck are MAN PARTY?” Well, you know that guy was the bass player. In my own defense, Man Party were not supposed to be playing at that venue, so there you have it.
Man Party are possibly the funniest band ever and their set was an absolute friggin’ disaster. Think Jack Black and Flight of the Conchords and Daft Punk all rolled into one. Self described as Healing/Easy Listening, they’re much more of a Rock/Electronica/Rave hybrid with hilariously ridiculous dance songs like “The Party Will Come” , “Dance Monkey” and their for-the-ladies jam “Love Hunt” . Everything that could go wrong did for the Seattle natives last night, including extensive duct-tape repairs to their Moog synthesizer and never-ending monitor troubles which lead the lead singer to exclaim “We’re having serious difficulties! It’s no joke! We’re not MACHINES! We’re HUMAN BEINGS!” at which point a supporter in the crowd lent sympathetic encouragement by hollering “HUMAN BEINGS! YEAH!” In they end, and after a full hour onstage, they only got to play four or five songs citing, “This is our second worst gig ever!” I love Man Party. You should all recognize.