Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Starting off the night was Fine Times, with a strong synthy-pop sound (one member even had a tower of keyboards almost as tall as he was). While the set started off a bit slow, they picked up momentum as they went, songs getting more and more catchy. Despite the awkward pauses and silence between songs -- and general lack of stage presence -- they put together a pretty entertaining set and I wouldn't mind catching them again sometime.
Next up was the first -- and likely last -- show from Brother Act, a band consisting of a few familiar faces. Led by David Vertesi and Shad, and backed by Devon Lougheed, Peter Carruthers, and Johnny Andrews, their set was brief, with only four song set of sloppy garage rock and purposefully rough vocals from Vertesi; a real contrast to his usually smooth baritone. With fun titles like "Men In Love Are Like Old People Trying To Use Computers" and smiles plastered over all the musicians faces, you could tell they were having a blast on stage, and that enthusiasm was definitely picked up by the crowd.
Next up was The Belle Game, the six members -- seven, when joined by Andrew Lee on trumpet -- crammed onto the Media Club stage for a set of mostly new material. The new songs definitely had their usual grandiose sound, but also showed growth from the band. Highlights included an amazing showcase of Andrea Lo's powerful voice, "River", and "Sabbath" which had a little bit of Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River" snuck in. Another new one was spontaneously renamed "Denim and Leather" and the band ended with a couple familiar songs, "Left This Place" and "Sleep to Grow", which built to an explosive ending.
And finally, wrapping up the night was the sometimes incomprehensible, often catchy, and always fun beekeeper. The trio of Devon Lougheed, Luke Cyca, and Brandi Sidoryk have a great, high energy (with Devon jumping around so much he had to enlist the audience to borrow a belt) and their songs are rarely straightforward; not going just from point A to point B, but rather following Devon's manic energy all over the map. Songs like "Table and Bed" and "Pinwheel Revolution" both have halting, alternating or even overlapping vocals and "Pets Eat Their Masters" showcases the band's 90s influence.
Other highlights from the set include the title track for the new 7", "Take Me Back (To The Place)" which name drops some Vancouver landmarks, and the finale to the set, where they asked for as many people as possible to jump on stage for a giant "family photo", something Devon mentioned they had been doing on their previous tour, and couldn't wait to try it out at home.
And the "family" theme was pretty fitting for the night. With a lot of familiar faces both on stage and in the crowd supporting their friends, there was a lot of love and friendship buzzing through the room, and that made for a fun night of music.