The Wintermitts at Richards on Richards

Photos by Jon Healy

I expected more lesbians. Last time I saw the Wintermitts, it was their first CD release party in a Gastown loft dominated by hipster weirdo lesbians. There were some Hare Krishna’s as well. And the crowd suited the music perfectly – it was low-key, intimate folk music with the hushed ruminations of vocalist Lise Monique singing about…whatever it was she was singing about. It was dry. Kind of boring. I smoked a lot then and took cigarette breaks often.

Three years later, I foolishly expected the same. Granted, the Wintermitts weren’t headlining the set, merely opening for Victoria-based Jon and Roy, but where the folk-some duo lumped along with acoustic ballads, the Wintermitts actually kind of rocked. Well, not kind of. They rocked. And the crowd was all-too-happy to rock along.

WintermittsThey sang happy songs. They played us French circus music. They sold us indie salsa. The girls in the front flailed and pranced. Many sang along and the crowd roared with applause as the set drew to its climax.

About a year ago, band member Shane McMillan had said their album was number one on a Nova Scotia college radio station. “People like us?” he said with a casual laugh. It seems that people do. People like them a lot.

In those early days, the Wintermitts used mallets on their floor toms. Now they rock the snare. It was an hour set of sweet, folksy pop that never lulled. It never bored.

But the greatest pleasure of the night was the accordion. Not since my uncle strapped on the aerophone at a Ukrainian family reunion back in ’92 have I seen anyone rock the accordion like, Modest Mouse be damned.

It was a good show, to say the least, and probably the biggest crowd the Wintermitts had played for. And McMillan said to me after the set, “That was the most fun I’ve had playing in this band.”

Indeed. It was the most fun I’ve had watching them.