Saturday, March 1, 2014

Toque Sessions: Hannah Georgas & Ryan Guldemond @ CBC Vancouver -- 02/28/14

For a fifth year, the CBC Toque Sessions return to CBC Vancouver. The sessions are a series of free shows featuring some great local talent, running through the end of February, and are recorded for later broadcast of CBC Radio 2, and streaming on CBC Music.

The final toque session of this year was hosted by Radio 3's Grant Lawrence, and featured the musical union of Hannah Georgas and Ryan Guldemond. The two friends are frequent collaborators, and recently recorded a handful of songs for CBC Music titled the Love Motel Sessions, appropriately titled for a collection of songs about love recorded in a... "charming" motel.

They were joined onstage by Ryan's Mother Mother bandmate Ali Siadat on drums, for an intimate and spontaneous hour of music; partially due to the small and attentive crowd, partly due to Hannah returning from European tour the previous day, as Ryan admitted they hadn't rehearsed much but wanted to capture the moment live. He was also taking the opportunity of the intimate show to pontificating on life between songs; on doing what you want as opposed to what you should, why not to retell stories, and needing to point out the elephant in the room (and "make a piano out of its tusks"). Every time I've seen Ryan perform -- especially solo shows -- he is very weird enigmatic with seemingly stream-of-consciousness stage banter, but always interesting nonetheless.

They started off with Hannah's "Robotic" and "Fantasize" and traded off throughout the set. Ryan's songs were about various stages of love, from his own lovelorn "Academe", to Mother Mother's deceptively charming "Love It Dissipates". He also dazzled with his amazing guitar chops, effortlessly throwing in jazz or blues riffs to songs.
Hannah's amazing voice lent power to the simplified songs, hers going from the gorgeous and heartbreaking "Ode to Mom" to the vitriolic "Millions", that didn't lose an ounce of attitude when stripped down.
A cover of The Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love" wrapped up the set, but the pair was coaxed back on stage by Grant for one last song, a beautiful version of "I Melt With You" by Modern English.

One of my favourite things about the Toque Sessions is when they do more unique shows, more than just "here's a band, watch them play". Things like putting together two musicians that play off each other, and this was a perfect example of that. It was a captivating show and all three musicians on stage had great chemistry together, especially Hannah & Ryan.

setlist
Robotic, Fantasize, Academe. Love It Dissipates, Enemy, Happy, Ode to Mom, Millions, Alone And Sublime, I Go Hungry, Bye Bye Love [Everly Brothers cover]
(encore) I Melt With You [Modern English cover]

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