We Are The City at The Railway ClubPhotos by Alex Ramon
Growing up in Vancouver is a blessing. I’ve lived here my entire life and even though I’ve travelled overseas, I still call Vancouver home and I can’t picture myself anywhere but here. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of amazing places in the world, but Vancouver will always hold a special place in my heart. We have a great music scene, and even though it isn’t nearly as big as Toronto or New York, talented bands still manage to manifest themselves from obscurity to fame. Musicians travel great lengths to come inhabit our west coast lifestyle, with our laid back atmosphere, and summer patio beer sessions. They find inspiration in our mountains, in our beaches, and even in our rain. I take it for granted, living here my entire life, but when a touring band strolls in to town they instantly remind me how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place. We Are The City, all the way from Kelowna (I know it’s not that far… but still), was one of those bands who reassured my belief that Vancouver has the potential and ability to explode onto the world stage.
Formed in 2006, this band has already gone through some name changes. They started off as Seraph (definition: the highest known rank of angels), later changing their name to The City (definition: a town of significant size and importance), and finally settled on We Are The City (definition: awesome). This band is anything but ordinary and features three young musicians in Cayne McKenzie on vocals and keys, David Menzel on guitar, and Andy Huculiak on the drums.
Fresh out of high school, this trio already has an impressive resume to boast about. Playing shows with Ronatron favourites like Bend Sinister, Mother Mother, and The Painted Birds, We Are The City are off to a great start. They were even invited to close the Best of BC Stage in Victoria, for BC’s 150 Festival, followed on the mainstage by Burton Cummings, Sarah McLachlan, and Feist. Not only have they played alongside amazing acts, but they’re building up quite the strong fan base. They even managed to sell 500+ copies of their demo, as well as get radio airplay from various radio stations, such as Power 104FM, CBC Radio One, CBC Radio 3, The X in Kamloops,and Evolution 107.9FM.
As soon as I stepped into The Railway Club, I had a hard time making my way to the stage let alone the bar. The place was packed with people from front to back and if you know the layout of the venue, then you obviously know this isn’t the biggest place. It has a “C” shaped floor plan, with the bar right in the middle and I kid you not, I couldn’t even walk to the washroom without rubbing shoulders and squeezing by people.
I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout and the night started off on the right foot. The floor was filled with tall 20 year olds, waiting for We Are The City to make their appearance. As soon as the trio stepped on stage, the room was filled with happiness and joy. They had everything you could want in a set, from sing-a-long tunes to drum solos. They reminded me a lot of Death Cab For Cutie (with a little more edge), Low vs Diamond, as well as Tokyo Police Club.
Each member was well crafted in their instruments, and I couldn’t spot a single weak link. I’m amazed at their talent, not just because they’re all great musicians, but because they’re all great musicians at such a young age. Cayne had an exceptional vocal performance, where he provided energy and charisma that could power any lacklustre band into stardom. David was just as energetic, and at moments quite entertaining to watch. It wasn’t just his guitar riffs, but it was the way he played them. At one point, he started using his teeth in rock star like fashion to provide a unique distortion. In my mind, it seemed like he was making out with the guitar (he must be a good guitar lover because the sounds were thrilling to hear). Andy was no slouch either. Sporting a Han Solo tee, Andy rocked out with his metaphorical cock out and hit the skins with his entire frame. Each beat was crisp and clear, with fillers that weren’t just fillers but more entertaining than anything else.
One song that caught my attention was “Time, Wasted,” where it highlighted all three members singing in harmony. The last time I heard something so beautiful was at a Marianas Trench concert (in which they were a tad bit cocky… something that I DIDN’T enjoy about them). This was one of those “slow build up epic” songs, in which the crowd responded with a loud ovation.
I wasn’t only impressed by their melodic, heartfelt music, but also by the way they presented themselves. They were light hearted, joking at times, but also very grateful for the support they were getting from the crowd. It’s not everyday you hear a band thank the people after each song. I’m not exaggerating when I say this, because they honestly thanked the crowd after each track, even dedicating a song to the enthusiastic audience.
We Are The City have a very bright future ahead of them. They deserve to play in a much bigger venue then The Railway Club, and I have a feeling they will sooner rather than later.