Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Then & Now @ Biltmore -- 08/20/13

The brainchild of Vancouver's beekeeper, Then and Now is a simple concept; take a handful of local artists, and get them to play a brand new song & an old song-- their newest, shiniest song, and one of the first songs they wrote, potentially embarrassing.
The night was also a fundraiser for Megaphone Magazine, a local publication that is sold by the homeless or low income people, who get to keep the profits of their sales.

Starting off the night was Redbird, and Savannah Leigh Wellman really took the concept to heart, setting the bar for the rest of the night. Her "then" song was one written in high school, influenced by pop-stars, called "Make Your Move", that peaked when Savannah started rapping. It was exactly in the spirit of the show, and as amazing as it was cringe-worthy. Her "now" was a brand new song, thematically similar but decidedly more mature.

Buckman Coe was up next, his older song being a folky love song, while his new was more reggae influenced.

Victoria musician Katie Schaan, better known as Ciseaux took the stage next, starting with an acoustic guitar and the song "Close To Me" off of Katie's debut album, which was put out under her own name.
Her new song was a love song about a boy, played on the ukulele. After wrestling with some technical problems, she ended up unplugged it and perched on the front of the stage, completely unamplified, her powerful voice still filling the room.

Devin Miller from Young Pacific was the first of the night to break from the acoustic, with his electric guitar. His first song was about friendship, or a lack thereof, and his newer one made use of his pedal board, for a song that was a bit more spacey and ethereal.

Wrapping up the first half of the night was the super secret surprise guest, Bed of Stars. Like many others throughout the night, his "then" song was a love song. His "now" was a pretty chill newer song.

After a brief intermezzo, Skye Wallace took the stage to start the second half. Joined by Alex the cellist, her first song was one written when she was a teenager. Her new song was one called "Monster" and built to some absolutely intense vocals.

There was a change of pace as spam poet Duncan Shields was up next, also joined by Alex the cellist. His nerd-themed pieces included a "then" which used video games as a metaphor for his ex-girlfriend, with great wordplay & puns, especially for video game lovers. His "now" was something he described as "filk music", which was taking folk songs and rewriting the words to make them nerdier. His was to the tune of "If You're Happy & You Know It" and was about Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Ford Pier. His "then" song had a very 90s-Canadian-vibe to it, and Pier took the concept of "now" to an extreme; he had only finished writing the new song at 6:30 that same morning, and it had never been performed out loud before.

And wrapping up the night, beekeeper themselves. The only full band electric set, Devon surprised his bandmated by choosing "Nice Lunch" for their "then", an old, rarely played song from their first album. They then wrapped up the night, with their newest, called "Arms Length". As with just about everyone throughout the night, it was an interesting juxtaposition between the then and the now, seeing how the songwriters have progressed.

The first time they did this show, last year, it ran a bit long, but this year did not drag at all. With a leaner lineup, the night zipped along at a fine clip, and I can only hope they plan on this again next year. It's a fantastic concept for a great cause.

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