Sunday, April 11, 2010

We Are The City w/ Library Voices @ Five Sixty -- 04/10/10

Before I get to the show itself, I'm gonna talk briefly about the venue, Five Sixty, which is the new club on Seymour, replacing Richard's on Richards. It was my first time being there, and I think their first live show, as it was billed the "Independent Music Launch Party". The layout of the place was kinda odd; the main area was just one big room, with the stage at the front (durr) and a bar, DJ, etc on the side. I can see this being problematic, as if you're not right at the front, you could have a hard time seeing the band, especially because the stage isn't very high up (and especially for short people). There was a balcony for the upper level at the back, but it didn't really look like you'd get a good view from the stage up there either. The strangest part is downstairs, as it's just a large unisex bathroom, with individual rooms for the stalls, and only a small divider-wall separating it from a lounging area with seats. The coat check is also down there, which is odd since it is about the furthest possible place from the entrance...
But the most important part is how the place sounds, and it was pretty damn awesome. Overall, aside from the somewhat bizarre layout, I quite liked it. I mean, it's no Richard's, but then again, what would be?

On to the music now! The show started at 8 sharp, as I guess they had a curfew and wanted to open it for a club night after. I had heard a couple Library Voices songs on R3 prior to the show, but aside from that (and rave reviews from others), I didn't know much about the band, and was intrigued to see them live. I certainly didn't expect them to pack the stage with 8 members (good thing the place has a large stage), nor did I expect them to blow me away as much as they did. There are some bands with as many members that end up just stepping all over themselves, but everything came together for a rich sound. With an insane energy and incredibly catchy songs, they played for about 40 minutes and I have no doubt they won over each and every member of the crowd. The two songs I recognized, "Drinking Games" and "Step Off The Map & Float" were fantastic, and I was impressed enough by the rest to pick up their new album -- which doesn't actually come out until this week, but luckily they had some for sale at the back. For the last song, lead singer jumped off the stage and sang the whole thing wandering through the crowd, jumping up on the bar at the back, then making his way back, all while the rest of the band played on. And as if they needed any more reasons for me to love them, at least one of their songs featured a theremin! (I am a sucker for any band that uses a theremin)
Their "tagline" (for lack of a better word) is "Pop as Fuck!" and I couldn't have put it better myself.

The stage was cleared in what must've been record time, and promptly at 9 We Are The City hit the stage for their first headlining show in Vancouver. With less than half as many member as Library Voices, the stage almost looked sparse, but no less rocking. This is my fourth time seeing them (in as many months, no less), and they just keep getting better each time. They seem much looser and more confident (though, not like they didn't have confidence in spades before), and they were playing with their songs more, too. A few songs had extended intros & outros, or just some additions in them.
The set kicked off with the first three songs off In A Quiet World, with "There Are Very Tiny Beasts in the Ground" getting everyone into it, clapping along, then one of my favourites, "Peso Loving Squid", before a new song, which started off calm and then build to a pretty powerful ending. I didn't catch the name of it, but I really liked it. "Time, Wasted" was great (and I finally got a good picture of David and his mouth-guitar-ing), and was one of the songs with a cool extended ending. There was a funny moment in "There Are Very, Very Big Lights in the Sky", as the song pauses before going on... at which point Cayne & Andy needed quick refreshment, and they went on to talk about being ripped off for pizza... before launching back into the song. Some bands either have no banter, or it just seems forced, but WATC seems natural; almost as if they don't even notice the crowd and are just trying to make each other laugh... which works a lot better than forcing it. After another new song -- I didn't catch the name of this one, either, but I am going to guess "Morning Song" based on the lyrics -- they ended the set, as usual, with "Astronomers" (the starry projection on the side was was quite fitting) and this, too, had an extended ending, which saw the band just going crazy, for an awesome way to close both the song and the set.
They came back out for a quick encore, sheepishly admitting they didn't have many more songs. After some prompting, from both the crowd and Andy & David, Cayne did his "spot on" Gandalf impression, before they finally ended the night with an older song, which, yet again, I didn't catch the name of.

It seems like I've had good luck this year, seeing shows where two (or more) awesome bands are playing together, and this just continued that trend. A great pair of bands for the first show at the Five Sixty (I am still not sure if I like that name or not...), which turned out to be a pretty damn good venue. I just hope they can keep up the quality shows.

setlist:
Intro, Feel is a Word, There Are Very Tiny Beasts in the Ground, Peso Loving Squid, [new song], April, Time Wasted, There Are Very Very Big Lights in the Sky, [new song], Astronomers.
(encore) [old song]

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