Said The Whale CD Release Party at St James Hall

Photos by Christine McAvoy

Vancouver is a very interesting place, and I’m not saying that because I live here. Sure I may be biased, but can you really deny the facts? Look outside for example. Wait, maybe you shouldn’t. Depending on when you read this, it could either be raining (which is most likely) or it could be snowing or it could even be sunny. Which I personally think is the beauty of this city. We get all four seasons, and sure it may suck when it rains, but it just gives us an excuse to have those “Lazy Sundays” (or in my case “Lazy Every Days”). But for someone creative like say the boys from Said The Whale, Vancouver is a perfect environment to release their pent up emotions. With their first album titled “Howe Sounds/Taking Abalonia,” they showcased their love for Vancouver, but with their current release “Islands Disappear,” the boys from STW have gone a step further and written about the beautiful landscape that is Canada.

STWAnd with an ever growing fan base, there was no reason why STW couldn’t have a double CD Release party. Earlier that day, the band put on a heartfelt performance to those youngins, and a few hours later, after they replenished their bodily fluids, they put on another stellar concert for the 19+ fans.

With St James Hall filled to capacity, songwriters Ben Worchester and Tyler Bancroft, with bassist Peter Carruthers, drummer Spencer Schoening, and keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown shredded the eyes and ears of everyone in the crowd. They played with such exuberance it was hard not to dance along to their catchy pop folk tunes. The energy and maturity they displayed up on stage, while sweating it out with the rest of us in that sauna like venue, was impressive to say the least. With beautiful, effortless harmonies between Ben and Tyler, it’s no wonder their new album was highly downloaded on iTunes.

With such an abundance of talent and personal drive, the boys from STW have made friends with some very talented people as well. Grabbing Hannah Georgas, the media proclaimed next Feist(which I agree with by the way), to open up for them at their CD Release was amazing in itself, but to have this beastly talent come back up on stage and lay her vocal gift on “B.C. Orienteering” was an early Christmas present for everyone in the audience.

There were many firsts for this night. It was the first, or second, time they were releasing their album to the public (which is a lie because it was out on iTunes a month earlier, but for the sake of argument let’s just say it was released at the party…). It was the first time such a huge audience cracked open Pilsners at a Church. It was the first, for many I believe, to drink in a Church period. And it was also the first time Said The Whale had a donut tossing up on stage. Someone from the back, who had the ingenious idea of buying Timmy Ho’s donuts, brought out a dozen or so up on stage, and being the rambunctious band known as STW, they proceeded to delight their fans by throwing those glazed delights into outstretched hands.

With the food all consumed, the band continued to wow the audience with their music and it wasn’t shortly after that the dreaded Kits curfew went into effect. Yes that’s right folks, there is a curfew of a very late 10 o’clock post meridiem. So after quickly going through a set of songs off their new album, including my favourite “Camilo (The Magician)”, they left the stage to thunderous applause, which in turn brought the boys (and girl) back out on stage to rebel against this so-called curfew. They ended the night on a beautiful, serene note and sang a stripped down version of “Curse of the Currents” where Ben sang his little heart out without the use of a microphone. The crowd was eerily silent and attentive, but after the song had ended, the noise shot up with hoots and hollers.

The night was a success and the local Vancouverites were treated to one of our cities finest musical exports. Big things are on the horizon for STW, and sooner rather than later, they won’t be Vancouver’s best kept secret anymore. Enjoy the intimacy while you can, because they’ll be playing at GM Place before you know it.