Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Phildel @ CBC Vancouver Studio 700 -- 11/18/13

One of my favourite musical discoveries this year came from the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. On the last day, I went to see a workshop with Justin Rutledge, Del Barber, Cold Specks, and a singer from the UK that I had never heard of, Phildel. Her handful of stripped down songs impressed me so much that I immediately picked up her album, The Disappearance Of The Girl, and it has been in heavy rotation ever since.
I was sad to have missed her actual performances that weekend, so when the Folk Fest announced they would be presenting a show in Studio 700 at CBC Vancouver with her headlining, I knew I couldn't miss it.

As an added bonus, opening up the show was Vancouver's own Jasper Sloan Yip. Joined only by Alex Hauka on cello and Stephanie Chatman on violin (and sometimes vocals), Jasper played more of a stripped down, acoustic set for the attentive crowd.
From "Athens", which was about a particularly bad day in Greece (and was also, as he introduced it, played as part of a "sad song competition") to the more upbeat and catchy "Show Your Teeth", Jasper wove through a series of ups and downs, with songs mostly about love and/or heartbreak.
He wrapped up the set with the title track to his newest album, Foxtrot, a beautiful duet with Chatman, her soft voice blending nicely with his.

Her band -- drums, bass, and synth -- took the stage and started the opening notes of the title track to her album, "The Disappearance of the Girl" before Phildel emerged from the back. The dark, ethereal pop was punctuated by Phildel's amazing, hauntingly beautiful voice, dipped in just the right amount of reverb, and the music all clearly came from deeply personal places. She gave backstory to many of her songs; the sinister song "The Wolf" was written in response to her extremely religious step-father who banned music when she was a child; "Holes In Your Coffin" is something of a revenge song after a betrayal; and the emotionally devastating "Funeral Bell" -- which I am sure caused more than a few teary eyes -- was written during a nervous breakdown.
She also had a very engaging stage presence, the intensity of her performance contrasting with her almost soft-spoken nature while telling stories between songs.
After her last song, "The Glass Ghost", the title track to her upcoming EP, the crowd gave a much warranted standing ovation. She was clearly moved by the response, and sat down at the keys for one last song, the beautiful "Comfort Me".

It was a perfect setting as well, a nice intimate studio with a very captivate and quiet crowd. The show marked the end of her current North American tour, but I am already hoping that the singer manages to make her way back here sooner rather than later.

setlist
The Disappearance of the Girl, Storm Song, Mistakes, Union Stone, Afraid of the Dark, Beside You, Celestial, The Wolf, Holes In Your Coffin, Moonsea, Funeral Bell, The Glass Ghost.
(encore) Comfort Me.

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