Peak Performance Project under her own name, Christina Maria. Since then she's eschewed the folk-pop, re-branded herself as Rykka, and embraced a dark, electro-pop sound. Splitting her time between Vancouver and Switzerland, she's ready to release her first album as Rykka, called Kodiak, and celebrate with a show at the Vancouver Fan Club.
This was also the first proper show I had seen at Fan Club, still a fairly new venue, and I was more or less impressed with the place.
Starting off the night was Rococode -- or more accurately, one half of Rococode. Andrew Braun promised some slow jams as he & Laura Smith took the stage, Braun on guitar and Smith on keys, their voices harmonizing and intertwining excellently.
They played a short set, a bit toned down and relaxed, but no less catchy. The usually punchy songs like "Empire" & "Blood" were more melodic, and the new songs they included sounded promising; I'll be interested to hear them with the full band.
Next up was Ryan Guldemond doing a solo set. The Mother Mother frontman has worked with both Rococode and Rykka, producing and playing on the new album, so he seemed a natural to support the show. His solo songs sounded much like you'd expect the Mother Mother member to sound -- catchy tunes with sharp lyrics -- but with more of a bluesy riff in the mix, giving Ryan an excellent chance to show off his great guitar chops.
Highlights included a brand new song called "Cut the String" and "I Go Hungry" as Ryan effortlessly went from songs full of literary references to love songs with a bit of a sinister undertone. He even threw in a newer Mother Mother song, "Happy", from their most recent album, The Sticks.
The curfewed show ran like clockwork and it wasn't long before Rykka hit the stage in a homemade outfit -- bodysuit with strategically placed spikes to give her a bit of a Mad Max look -- with a band that included some familiar faces to the Vancouver music scene, including Andrew Braun pulling double duty for the night on keys.
They started off the set with the album's opener, "With Love In Woe", and right from the get-go, Rykka's incredible energy and stage presence shone through. Her powerful voice carried songs like "The Brink" and her intensity giving weight to songs like "Showdown Lover". Other highlights included "Shotgun" and "Map Inside", both incredibly catchy songs.
The set included most of Kodiak, a few new songs, and even a cover of Whale Tooth's "Wolves" to wrap up the main set. But of course, Rykka was back out moments later for the encore, first joined only by Ryan Guldemond for a soft and beautiful song, "The Mirror", Ryan on guitar and their voices blending fantastically. The rest of the band then joined them the the last song of the night, definitely going out with a bang with probably the most high energy of the night, "Electric"
When I saw her perform as Christina Maria, I was quite impressed. She was confident and energetic on stage, and that's only been amplified in the few years since.
Vancouver has a wealth of musical talent, as this night was a perfect showcase of that.