As much as I am an Olympics hater, the one good thing to come out of it has been the "Cultural Olympiad" surrounding it, giving us quality live shows. Last night there was yet another show at the quite awesome Biltmore Cabaret; I suppose it was some sort of Canadian cultural celebration, since it consisted of Lucie Idlout from Nunavut, Karkwa from Montreal and Vancouver's own Said The Whale.
Lucie Idlout was first up and while she wasn't all that bad... she wasn't all that good either. She (or, since she had a full band, would it be "they"?) had a pretty generic sounding rock going on that would have been perfect at, say, Lilith Fair, but just seems dated now-a-days. Combined with not much variety, it just left her set kind of... dull. Not to say she, or any of the members of her band, sucked or anything, but nothing all that spectacular either.
Next up was Karkwa. I had only heard one of their songs before the night, Oublie Pas on Radio 3 and it's not a bad song, but based on that song I wasn't expecting much. Which made my musical punch in the face that much more awesome. By the first song I was intrigued, by the second song I was hooked and even mid-way through the set I took a moment to see if there were any albums available. They have a sound that is terribly difficult to describe... maybe if Sigur Rós and !!! had a baby and that baby went on to cover Radiohead, it might sound sort of like Karkwa? But at the same time they don't really sound very much like any of those bands and their own. Maybe I shall just make up my own genre: indie-prog-dream-pop-rock-awesome.
Their rich, layered sound -- made richer and, uh, layereder but the use of two drum kits -- was absolutely amazing. The drums, incredible guitars and masterful keys all combined to create a wall of sound that you would swear was coming from a twelve-piece band rather than just the five of them. No description I can give will do the band justice, so I strongly urge you all to check out the above link or their myspace here to check them out.
This show was the first time they had played in Vancouver and I have no doubt that I will be wearing that badge with all the hipster pride I can muster, bragging about it when the band gets huge, as they rightly deserve to. I am also fairly positive that they blew out one of the speakers during the climax of one of their songs.
Rounding out the night was Said The Whale and I have to admit, I was somewhat underwhelmed by their set. Maybe it was the fact they just followed Karkwa, who absolutely blew them away. Maybe it was the fact that the sound was just so off -- surprising, since the Biltmore usually has great sound, but not so surprising if Karkwa did, in fact, blow a speaker.
Between the muddled vocals and frequent feedback, they played a decent set of their infectious brand of indie pop, but I think even they knew that they had their work cut out for them. Admittedly, I haven't heard much more of Said the Whale than the few songs on R3 and The Peak, all of which I've likes so far, but this show did not turn me to a fully fledged fan. I will, however, be keeping an eye out for them in the future, in hopes of catching a better sounding show.
Live Journal By "Gala_Pope", Richmond, BC, Canada, Links : Last.fm