Monday, April 29, 2013

Hannah Georgas with The Belle Game @ The Rio Theatre -- 04/26/13


It's been three years since the last time Hannah Georgas headlined her own show in Vancouver. Sure, the Ontario-born singer who now calls Vancouver home has played here plenty in the intervening time, but it's always been supporting someone else, part of a larger bill. But fresh off her recent Juno nominations -- and performance at the award ceremony -- Georgas returns home for a pair of sold out shows at the Rio Theatre, with The Belle Game along for the ride.


On the heels of the release of their debut LP, Ritual Tradition Habit, Vancouver's The Belle Game started off the night with their rich and lush indie pop. The six piece launched right in to the first song on the album, the haunting "Ritual" before getting shoulders shimmying to "Wasted Light".

Their sound went from the upbeat and bouncy "Keeps Me Up At Night" to the sexy slow-jam of "Bruised to Ash", with Andrea Lo's powerful vocals being the focal point -- which was never more apparent than on "River", the small singer's voice filling the room. They wrapped up the set with "Sleep To Grow" and "Wait Up For You", both of which building to explosive endings, the fantastic guitar work of both Adam Nanji and Alex Andrew on display.

While the sound was a bit bass-heavy at the start, it evened out a couple songs in, and the band proved why they fit right in at a place like the Rio; their grand sound fits the theatre venue nicely, and I can't wait for the day they play a somewhere like the Vogue.

setlist
Ritual, Wasted Light, Keeps Me Up At Night, Blame Fiction, Bruised to Ash, River, Sleep to Grow, Wait Up For You.


Then, with throbbing bass and pulsing lights, Hannah Georgas took the stage with her backing band, starting off with "Elephant", the first track on her newest, self titled album. The set continued to focus on the new album, the poppy-rocker "Robotic" and the acerbic, unrequited-love-song "Somebody", leading into a cover of Jesus & Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey" -- though the vocals seemed a little low for just that song, Hannah's voice getting drowned out.

Midway through the set the band took a break and Hannah performed "The Beat Stuff" on her own, just her gorgeous voice and a guitar, before she was rejoined not only by the band, but also a surprise guest, Ryan Guldemond from Mother Mother out to do backup vocals on "Fantasize"

After a few more, including the super upbeat and danceable "Shortie", Hannah ended off the set with the heartfelt "Ode to Mom", and the last song on the album, "Waiting Game", with another guest out for backup vocals, this time rapper Shad.

But of course, there was the encore as Hannah came out alone and took a seat behind the keys for the absolutely gorgeous and heartbreaking "Shine" before she was joined by the band for "All I Need", a perfect song to wrap up the night with, starting soft and building to an intense grand finale.

With a great stage presence -- Hannah chatted and joked throughout the set -- and a fantastic voice backing up her gritty songs, "Gorgeous" Hannah Georgas put on one hell of a show, captivating the sold out theatre. She's come a long way since the first time I saw her, at the intimate St. James Hall, and it won't be long before she's selling out bigger and bigger venues. I just hope that we won't have to wait another three years for the next headlining show!

setlist
Elephant, Enemies, Robotic, Somebody, Just Like Honey [Jesus & Mary Chain cover], Thick Skin, Chit Chat, Lover's Breakdown, The Beat Stuff, Fantasize, Deep End, What You Do To Me, Shortie, Millions, Dancefloor, The National, Ode to Mom, Waiting Game.
(encore) Shine, All I Need.

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