I wasn't going to post again so soon after yesterday, but last night was just so packed with awesome that it requires its own post. Again, I'll try to keep things brief, but I may not be able to contain my ravings.
Wednesday, Feb 17 - Evening
First up was a trip out to Granville Island for Karkwa at the Place de la Francophonie. Last time I saw Karkwa was about a year ago when I am still pretty sure they blew out a speaker at the Biltmore. That show absolutely amazed me and I've loved them ever since, but I was kind of afraid that I had built that show up so much in my mind that nothing would be able to compare. So when they hit the stage at 6, there was some trepidation. Especially since I convinced others to go based solely on my ravings.
They opened with "Le Computer", and halfway through the song any fears I had were promptly crushed by the dual drummers, masterful keys and intense wall of sound. They were every bit as good as I remember them, if not better.
The stage banter was there, but mostly en français (which made sense, since it was the "French Quarter"), however it wasn't too often; they mostly let the music speak for itself. And even though they have only five members, their sound is so layered and dense that you would almost expect there to be twice as many people on stage. In my previous review of them I described them as difficult to describe, and I stick by my made-up genre of: indie-prog-dream-pop-rock-awesome.
They closed with my favourite song of theirs, "La Façade", and cemented themselves as one of my favourite bands to see live. Pretty impressive after only two short shows.
From there, I had the option of staying on Granville Island and brave what was bound to be an insane line to attempt to see Two Hours Traffic; go down to Holland Park to catch Ryan Dahle and Bend Sinister; or head to the O Zone in Richmond for Jill Barber & Hawksley Workman. I figured because I had seen, and would be willing to pay to see, Two Hours Traffic & Bend Sinister I would give Barber & Workman the chance, since I wasn't sure if I would pay to see them. And also because someone is always raving about how good Workman is live.
Anyway, we got there just in time, as Jill Barber was just hitting the stage. I wasn't too familiar with her outside of a couple songs, but her sultry serenading and adorable stage presence kind of won me over (and don't tell Grant Lawrence, but I think I may be a little bit in love with her after the show). Aside from her own songs, she slipped in a cover of a Leonard Cohen song... that was not Hallelujah. I am as shocked as you! (it was "Dance Me To The End Of Love"). She ended off the show with a sing-a-long of "Oh My My", even changing it at the end, from "Oh my my" and "Please don't let me go" to "Ca-na-da" and "Please just go for gold" (Even though it did end up with a couple of mix-ups of "Please don't go for gold"). The only thing that hurt her was the setting. She managed to make it somewhat intimate, but her music was not meant to be played on a big, open air stage, but rather a small, dimly lit, vaguely smoky room, with a glass of scotch.
Finally was Hawksley Workman, and he was every bit the showman that I have been lead to believe. Even sick, as he mentioned at the start, he managed to put on one hell of a show. And although the only three songs I recognized were the last three he played, he grabbed my attention from the start and never let it go. With his on stage theatrics and engaging, hillarious and/or completely random stories, he had pretty much the whole crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. He even managed to slip in quick covers of other songs, mostly just a verse or chorus inserted into one of his own. Prince, Cheap Trick, Culture Club and A-Ha all got a quick "cover". And you could tell he was having a blast doing what he was doing. He, too, won me over, and I would seriously consider going to see him next time he's in town.
In all, an utterly fantastic night of music. And the best part? It was all for free.