Sara Bareilles – Commodore Ballroom – November 23, 2010
“This show is all about interactivity” said Sara Bareilles as she wowed the crowd at Commodore Ballroom. Touring in support of her latest album Kaleidescope Heart Sara took us on an emotional, entertaining and energetic journey.
Her, often times, hilarious banter and storytelling really connected her to the audience who were singing, clapping, snapping and swaying along to every song in the 90 minute set. Not only was she connecting and supportive of the audience but of her support acts too, bringing out Holly Conlan and Cary Brothers a few times to sing with her. Gliding effortlessly between poppy, sulty, moody and soulful we were incredibly amazed at her vocal range and ability to convey so many moods within her songs, while keeping the show fun and light.
Comedic interludes about Hookers & Blow, William Shakespeare and usage of the “F” word were seamlessly intertwined with details of what some of her songs were written about. For example, Love Song was written in rebellion of being asked by h
er label to write a ‘love song’ hence “I’m not gonna write you a love song”.
After an evening with Sara I feel like writing her a love song, she completely won me over. She delivered such a fun evening of entertainment, I went from casual to serious fan in 90 minutes!
Blonde Redhead – Commodore Ballroom – November 21, 2010
As Blonde Redhead near the end of nearly three months of touring they stopped at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver in support of their eighth album Penny Sparkle
The Alt-Rock trio of Amedeo Pace, Simone Pace and Kazu Makino played a beautiful 80 minute set to a small but dedicated crowd who ate up every word. Not that there were many words spoken by the group, other than …thank you very much“ as they left the stage. The music was beautiful and the light show was excellent, a simple set of photographer’s lighting foil umbrellas gave a unique atmosphere. Each of the members of the band were amazingly lit, their white costumes at times making them almost ethereal, as though we were blessed to have witnessed this performance.
Their entire set was very thought out and precise, from entering the stage with Kazu in a mask, (reminiscent of General Grievous in Star Wars), to finish with a wall of sound, that quite possibly was whale calls. Unfortunately, at times it seemed a bit more, performance art than music performance, leaving me to feel that we were there just to observe, not to participate in the evening. They would have performed the entire show the same way if there was one or one thousand people watching. I would have like to feel a bit more interaction with the fans to make all of us feel welcome and part of the show. However, this slight criticism does not take away from the fact that we witnessed some beautiful music at the Commodore!
JOSH RITTER – Commodore Ballroom – November 4, 2010
Josh Ritter stopped by the Commodore Ballroom or should I say ‘stomped by’ as everyone in the crowd was definitely stomping along to his country/rock/folk style. This was my first Josh Ritter show and I was impressed by the audience being so excited for each and every song. For someone relatively young his vocals and musical style hearken back to another era…Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and even a little Elvis seemed to be mixed into his DNA. Whether playing with his backing band or on his own he commanded the room and certainly looked like he was enjoying himself. I’ve not seen many artists smile and laugh so heartily throughout their performance, this was infectious as the audience smiled and laughed along with him throughout his set. Everyone had a great time!
Stars brought their infectiously catchy indie-pop to the historic Vogue Theatre in Vancouver. A nearly sold out audience was completely entranced during their set, dancing, bouncing, swaying and singing along as waves of melody (and bubbles) washed over the auditorium. With a vast catalogue of tunes to choose from a Stars show is always full of variety, in tempo, sounds and vocals as they alternate between the great Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan on leads. The Vogue was a great setting to match the Stars style which can range from laid back and mellow or upbeat and raucous just as the audience in the Vogue can sit for a while then stand up and dance…and in the area I was in, dance, they did! Fun!
I had to cut my experience a bit short of the whole set to see another show but that definitely left me looking forward to their next gig in Vancouver!
It’s hard to believe it’s only been 8 years since Vancouver’s Granville Entertainment District first welcomed this traditional yet modern Irish Pub. High tech audio visual equipment combine with old world flavour as the Celtic tunes are played in the corner stage by the live house band. Always a popular place to watch the game, after work or for stag/stagettes Doolins is a great centrally located hang out. Head down tonight…the party’s still going on!
KATE NASH – Commodore Ballroom – November 3, 2010Kate Nash returned to Vancouver Wednesday evening with a 90 minute set at the Commodore Ballroom as part of The Georgia Straight’s ‘Straight Series’ of concerts.
In the 3 years since her debut album Kate has become an excellent seasoned stage performer, commanding the audience with nothing more than a piano, a guitar or simply her voice.
Accompanied by a 3 piece backing band Kate performed songs from both her albums; Made Of Bricks and My Best Friend Is You. In sharp contrast to tonight’s other concert this one was just about the music…Kate’s simple yet meaningful lyrics are presented in a her own light cockney accented tone that you almost forget there’s a depth behind them.
Even her chit chat between songs is light but thoughtful…a long diatribe against homophobia & pro-same sex marriage set up and followed “I’ve Got A Secret” until someone in the audience shouted “it’s legal here” which seemed to please her but also deflated her argument…leading her to quickly carry on to a spoken word poem.
Moments like these demonstrate Kate’s growth as a person and performer since first breaking on the scene. Back then she seemed to be a all persona and image accented by false bravado. Now we have before us a confident, wise woman and very talented songwriter.
GORILLAZ – Rogers Arena – November 3, 2010 Formed in 1998 as a side project for Blur frontman Damon Albarn and British cartoonist Jamie Hewlett (of Tank Girl fame), Gorillaz has up to now existed mostly in a two dimensional plane. When it comes to touring…one wonders how a ‘virtual band’ will translate to the live concert stage. Well wonder no more…they translate brilliantly! At Roger’s Arena in Vancouver tonight, Damon and crew wrapped up an 18 date North American tour! An amazing combination of great sounds and video came to life in front of us…beginning with ‘Welcome to the World of Plastic Beach’ featuring Snoop Dogg on video backed up by a 24 piece band/orchestra. This set us up for a night of endlessly great sounds and video. The animated Gorillaz past & present; 2D, Murdoc, Noodles, Russel Hobbs and Cyborg Noodle were visually presented above the stage on which Damon and an amazing line up of collaborators and musicians mesmerized us with stunningly (for Rogers Arena) good audio. Other guests in the videos included Bruce Willis and the voice of Malcolm McDowell. In addition to Damon Albarn ‘live’ members of Gorillaz include (one half of The Clash) Mick Jones and Paul Simonon. They were joined on stage throughout the evening by the Legendary Bobby Womack, Pharcyde’s Bootie Brown, De La Soul, Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, at times up to 26 people were packed onto the stage. The 75 minute set was over far too fast but packed in an amazing feast for the eyes and ears…definitely left the audience hungry for more!