Music BC sure knows how to throw a hell of a party. They are, of course, one of the forces behind the Peak Performance Project, and a great organization supporting local music. They celebrated their 20th anniversary last night with a show at the Biltmore featuring three great BC bands.
Kicking off the night was Treelines, the latest in a long line of bands to move down to Vancouver from Kelowna. All four members exuded energy on stage, and put on a very dynamic performance. They were joined a couple times by Andrew (not Adam) Lee -- formerly of 41st & Home and currently of Ruffled Feathers -- on trumpet for a couple songs, including their Bucky nominated "Summer Song". At one point they broke out their recently released rendition of "Little Drummer Boy", which was a very Sam Roberts-esque twist on the classic. A few new songs were thrown in, as well, "Cartographer" and one temporarily dubbed "Cowbell" (I'll let you guess why). Neither of which were really that much of a departure, musically, but still piqued my interest for more new material. Even when they brought the energy down, like with "Canadian Airlines", they were still engaging, and an incredibly fun band to watch live.
Brasstronaut was the second band of the night, and the last two times I had seen them I either had to leave early or there were conflicting bands, so it was great to finally be able to see a full, proper set again. Mount Chimaera is one of my favourite albums of the year, and I am always amazed that the band is able to pull off the rich, lush sound in a live performance. Started off with "Insects", a kind of darker and ominous song, they played a good amount of the album, as well as from the Old World Lies EP. "Slow Knots" and "Six Toes" were pretty incredible live, and I can't let a Brasstronaut performance go without mentioning me favourite [looking] instrument, the Space Clarinet. The set ended with one of my favourite songs of the year, the Echo Songwriting Prize winning "Hearts Trompet". As the song grew and grew to an epic finale, each member left the stage, one by one leaving only the drummer, going nuts, and Edo at the end. It was an insanely good set and just reminded me why I like Brasstronaut so.
Finally, rounding out the night was another band to originate from Kelowna, Bend Sinister. Even though I have been a fan of the band for a few years now, I have only seen them live a handful of times; I always seem to have bad luck when it comes to seeing them. Case in point: last time I only caught the last two of their songs, because I was coming from, interestingly enough, seeing Treelines play an acoustic set. But I digress.
As energetic Treelines was earlier in the night, they had nothing on Bend Sinister. Dan Moxon has always been intense live, and this night was no different, with him actually knocking over his keyboard and mic stand at one point. He also, at various points, played the keys with drumsticks and picked it up to play it, keytar style. And that's not even mentioning the rest of the band, who more than kept up. They played a good mix of their older and newer stuff, hitting things from all their albums. Another of my favourite songs of the year, from their Spring Romance EP, "Things Will Get Better" was definitely a highlight, as well as "CT" and the always great "Time Breaks Down".
The show was one of, if not the best all-around-lineup I have seen this year, as each of the three I would (and have) see a show with them headlining with no hesitation.
I talk a lot about the "Vancouver music scene" and such, and I have a feeling it would be a mere shadow of what it is without Music BC.