Saturday, September 10, 2011

October Concert Highlights

Vancouverites are fortunate to have some great gigs coming to town this October; unfortunately, I am in Australia. While I was creating this entry I was perusing the Pollstar website and it really was painful to read about all of the awesome shows that I will be unable to attend. I knew what I was getting myself into when deciding to undertake an eight-month trip though, so I will have to settle for vicarious concert-going experiences, created through Georgia Straight reviews, You Tube clips, and descriptions from friends. Coincidentally, two of the bands that I am (highly) recommending are from Oceania!   

Cut Copy - Vogue - October 7
I am a runner, and a portion of my music harvesting is based around bands that produce complex, 150-bpm music. I am pretty picky when it comes to electronic, up-tempo music though because the repetition and laptop-reliance of most dance music becomes boring after a few minutes. My legs might like run-of-the-mill house music, but my brain needs to be doing something while my body is busy exercising. Bands like Block Party, Daft Punk and Cut Copy use a wide variety of instruments and effects to produce songs that are both stimulating and spirited. Hailing from Melbourne, Cut Copy has been around for more than a decade and are known for creating poppy tracks with clever synth/keyboard effects and smooth vocals. It is rare to find an electronic group that: plays actual instruments, produces great vocals, and walks the line between techno and pop. In Ghost Colours has been on my Shuffle for two years!    

The Naked and Famous - Commodore - October 11
My sister turned me onto this Kiwi group and there are three or four outstanding tracks on their debut album, Young Blood. Their sound is immature right now - some of their songs run out of steam mid-way through and some of the songs end awkwardly - but Alisa Xayalith's dynamic vocals and the band's dense synth-pop compositions are very promising. They are actually in the same category as Cut Copy, but they are not as electronic. This will be a good chance to see some up-and-coming kiwis at Vancouver's best venue.


Friendly Fires - Commodore - October 18
Like Cut Copy's In Ghost Colours, the Friendly Fires debut album from 2008 has been on my running playlist for two years. My favourite song from this debut is 'Jump in the Pool'. Like most of their songs, 'Jump in the Pool' is heavily mixed and super snappy, but all of the digital detailing and  effects cling to a rock nucleus. Unlike The Naked and Famous and Cut Copy, the  Friendly Fires are guitar driven, with synthed percussion often mixed over the band's tracks. The band members met in highschool (in St Albans...where my great grandparents were married!) and originally played dark post-rock. Post-rockers love guitars - especially screwing with them to produce unusual sounds - and this love is evident in the music of the Friendly Fires, despite the glossy production of their past two albums. Ed Macfarlane, the lead singer, started experimenting with keyboards and laptops in university, and then the band as a whole really embraced electronic elements in 2007. The band is currently touring to promote their new album, Pala. 

"A.B.C. Dawkins", "Alex Dawkins", "Vancouver concerts"