Friday, October 21, 2011

Amplify! MDD Fundraiser w/ The Belle Game, Ruffled Feathers & Sidney York @ Railway -- 10/20/11

With Media Democracy Days coming up soon, it was time for the annual fundraiser show at the Railway. This year it featured a trio of great acts, fronted by lovely ladies, and even though the sound at the Railway was unusually wonky a couple times throughout the night (the sound guy showed up late, which could be a contributing factor) it was still a hell of a night of local music.

First up was Sidney York, with a set similar to the one she played last week. But even though it was familiar, it was no less fun. With six members packed on to the small Railway stage (a theme for the night), there wasn't as much room for moving around, but the whole band was brimming with energy.  The crowd was into it, too, clapping along for a few songs, including "Roll With Me" and the insanely catchy "Dick & Jane", and shouting & dancing along to "Mile High Love", which closed the set. Even when they toned things down for the heartfelt "Go Home, Atticus Jones", they were still captivating. As mentioned above, there were a couple hiccups in sound, but still a fantastically enjoyable set, and just added more reason for Sidney York being one of my favourite new artists this year.


The Ruffled Feathers were up next, who have been getting better and better with each time I've seen them. They started off starting of with "Home" kicking off a really fun set of their high energy chamber pop.
While Gina Loes handled most of the lead vocals, there were a couple songs where they traded off to other members; for "Lead Me to Destruction" Charley Wu took care of vocals and Andrew Lee handled them on "Rosin and Horsehair", which also saw Wu playing his mandolin with a bow. Both songs had their own uniqueness without betraying the overall sound of the band -- Wu's had a bit of a 50's vibe while Lee's had an almost spaghetti-western feel to it. They weren't the only ones, though, as throughout the set each member of the band got their own moment to shine.
Another highlight of the set was their latest single, "Blueprints for a Failed Revolution" from their forthcoming album Oracles. And if their set was any indication, is going to be a good one, which I am eagerly anticipating.

And wrapping up the night was The Belle Game, who kicked off with "Bloom" from their just-released EP, which started soft but swelled to a grand climax, setting the stage for their layered sound. They were occasionally joined by Andrew Lee on trumpet, doing double duty for the night (one day there will be a show where he plays in each band, mark my words).
Much like the bands before them, they two had a great energy and stage presence, even with a packed stage. Highlights of the set were the awesomely-titled "I Wish You Weren't Like A Dead Lover (Sometimes)", building up to a smashing ending, with singer Andrea Lo and guitarist Alex Andrews going nuts on a floor tom, and "Shoulders & Turns", where they urged people to get cozy and dance. They wrapped up the set with "Sleep to Grow", which had Adam Nanji taking his guitar into the crowd, and were called back for what may have been an actual legitimate encore of one final song. 

On any given night, any one of these three bands would have stolen the show and been well worth seeing on their own, and seeing them all together made for a grand show.

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