Friday, November 16, 2012

Sidney York @ Media Club -- 11/15/12

About a year and a half ago, I developed a bit of a musical crush on the band Sidney York (and maybe a few of the members too) and since then I almost haven't been able to shut up about them -- they were definitely one of my favourite musical discoveries of last year.
I was also recently lucky enough to travel across Canada with them, and a few other bands, by train as part of Tracks on Tracks, and I was excited to see them play for the first time since that experience.

Starting off the night was We Need Surgery, a five-piece from Vancouver -- who actually formed in South Korea of all places. They all came across as talented musicians, lead singer Miso Stefanac had a versatile voice and bass player Paul Johnson stood out, but the problem was their lack of originality. They were definitely influenced by the mid-00's indie rock scene, with many songs sounded like a Killers or Bravery b-side rather than something unique.
They also gave off a bit of an "arrogant" vibe (for want of a better term) like they didn't really want to be there -- I'm not sure if it's something they were going for to build a mystique, or if it was an accident (or they really didn't want to be there), but they didn't have much of a stage presence.
If they worked more towards a sound of their own, I think they could definitely be a strong band, but while the set wasn't bad by any means, it just wasn't that interesting.

Next up was one of the top three bands in this year's Peak Performance Project, Dear Rouge. When I saw their Peak showcase at the Red Room, the sound wasn't all that great so I was looking forward to seeing them again in a better venue. Though they were plagued with a few technical problems -- namely issues with the kick drum -- but they recovered fairly well, changing the setlist on the fly and not succumbing to an awkward silence while they tried to fix it. 
The duo of Danielle and Drew McTaggart lead the band to create a very dancey, electro-pop vibe with lots of energy from the two of them, especially Danielle who hardly stood still all set. There was definitely more focus on her throughout the show, despite the fact they're hyped as a duo. 
As I thought last time, I think they have an amazing potential, but because they are still so new, they just need  some time to grow into themselves as a band. Near the end of the set there was shades of that, as they pulled out a cover of Tommy Sparks' "She's Got Me Dancing", during which they seemed to really click and kick into full gear, which carried through into the last song, their current Peak single "Thinking About You". 
They're playing the Commodore for the big Peak finale show next week, and I am definitely interested to hear how that goes, and see how they progress after that.

And wrapping up the night was Sidney York. You wouldn't expect to find a classically trained opera singer & two concert musicians -- playing the oboe and bassoon no less -- in an indie-pop band, but that's the background of the three ladies behind Sidney York, Brandi Sidoryk, Sheryl Reinhardt and Krista Wodelet.
The three were joined by a few familiar faces backing them up; Jeremy Breaks (Redgy Blackout) on guitar, Mike Young (The Matinée) on bass and Luke Cyca (beekeeper) on drums.
On the surface, a many of their songs come across as just fun, upbeat and poppy music -- albeit with a unique instrumentation -- but most of them are much darker or sexier (or both) than they initially appear, which is a quality I always love.
Most of the set focused on songs from last year's Apocalyptic Radio Cynic album, but they played a couple new songs, both of which a bit of a departure, but nothing too drastic, and were much more collaborative. You could tell they were written by the three of them together, as opposed to the older songs written by Brandi before the other two joined the band. Especially "Electrolove", a song about having a love affair with technology, which featured the three of them all playing the same keyboard at once. Judging by the pair of new songs, I'm really looking forward to the next album, which Brandi mentioned is starting production next month.
The three of them have a fantastic energy, but especially Brandi, who bubbles over with liveliness and a contagious enthusiasm that got people stomping and clapping along for the ridiculously infectious "Dick & Jane", and singing along for "Roll With Me". They wrapped up the set after about an hour with the explosive "Mile High Love", capping off a great and fun set.

Tea As It Should Be, Cold In Here, Dick & Jane, Doctor Doctor, Math & Fractions, Roll With Me, Lion Tiger Bear, Electrolove, Apocalyptic Radio Cynic, Mile High Love.

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