Back when I was just getting in to local independent music, one of the first bands I came across was Bend Sinister. I saw them opening a show where they blew away the headliner and soon after heard a song on the CBC Radio 3 podcast, and since then they have remained one of my favourite local bands; especially to see live. So of course I was going to go check out their show for the PuSh Festival at "Club Push" (usually known as Performance Works on Granville Island) which, in a nice "full circle" way, was sponsored by R3 and hosted by Lisa Christiansen.
Opening the night was Pleasure Cruise, a fairly new band that actually formed on Twitter, when they were looking for a vocalist and Jody Glenham answered the call. Their lo-fi, retro, fuzzy indie pop sound puts you on a beach within minutes of hearing it and Glenham's voice finds a good balance of seductive and upbeat to fit the sound perfectly. Starting off with "Weeks & Months" from their EP Business Or... the set was filled with energetic, summery songs, and even included a cool cover of "It's my Party". Other highlights were "I Really Wanna Know" which bursts into an energetic ending, and my favourite off the EP, "Summer Fling".
Next up was Nick Krgovich, who I didn't realise until his introduction was from the Vancouver band p:ano, and more recently, No Kids. He hit the stage alone, but despite that it was just him and his keyboard, he had a myriad of effects and back tracks to flesh out his sound, with twitchy synth, looped drums and midi sax as well as a projection screen behind him that matched up various old movie clips to the songs -- and matched up quite well. At first, I wasn't sure what to think of the electronic/ambient/poppy sounds, but it definitely grew on me as he went on, with Krgovich's stage presence -- and dancing -- definitely helping.
Aside from his own songs, he threw in a few covers, the best being of k.d. lang's "Constant Craving", and while I am not sure it's something I would listen to a lot, it was definitely a really interesting set, and I wouldn't hesitate to see him again live.
And finally, Bend Sinister hit the stage to wrap up the night, starting off with a new song. In fact, the bulk of the set consisted of new material -- with Dan promising an EP in March and a full length later in the year -- that sounded fantastic. The new songs had the familiar Bend Sinister prog rock sound and Dan Moxon's distinct vocals, but you could definitely tell the growth of the band, with a few songs having a bit of a bluesy vibe. My favourite of the new songs was, hands down, "Hot Blooded Man", an absolutely intense song which almost immediately became one of my favourite songs of theirs; and one I can't wait to hear recorded.
Among the few old songs were "Don't Let Us Bring You Down" and "Things Will Get Better", bringing people to the dance floor. And keeping with the cover song trend, they broke out their rendition of "Don't Stop Believing" before wrapping up the main set with another new one, "She Don't Give It Up". They were back out for the encore with another older song, "Time Breaks Down" before ending with the heaviest song of the set, "Quest for Love".
Dan Moxon in an amazing ball of energy behind the keys, and the rest of the band more than keeps up for one of the most energetic live shows. If this set was any indication, the upcoming album is going to be their best yet.