Immaculate Machine @ The Biltmore -- 09/12/09

I always seem to have bad luck with Immaculate Machine. As much as I love them, I've only seen them live thrice before -- and of those, only one was them headlining. Every time they come through, it seems like the fates have conspired against me seeing them. For example, last time they came it was the same night that I already had tickets for The Stills.
This time, however, there was nothing to stop me from heading to The Biltmore for some musical goodness. Or was there...???

Up first was Char2D2, who had me won over with the name before anything else. Normally consisting simply of former Bella member, Charla McCutcheon, she has added a touring drummer for her shows. Music-wise, it was Perfectly Acceptable Music and about what you would expect from someone of her background. All the songs were pretty catchy, and some nervous/humble/charming stage banter sprinkled the set. I wasn't quite won over enough to pick up the EP, but I will be sure to keep to keep a lookout for her in the future, and wouldn't mind seeing her live again.

Then shortly after Immaculate Machine hit the stage... but something was wrong. Brooke was there, but not so much Kathryn. And the weird thing is, her replacement (who, I will say right now, was not bad, but just not Kathryn) wasn't even on the keys, rather another guitar. So of the band I fell in love with, only one member was there -- with drummer Luke having left the band, and music all together, after the new album came out. The show was still pretty damn good, but it was more like... Brooke Gallupe & Friends Cover Immaculate Machine. Not to take anything away from Brooke, as he is an excellent musician in his own right, but it was almost like seeing Stars without Amy Millan or Arcade Fire without RĂ©gine Chassagne. I am probably sounding a bit harsh, but it is mostly because the whole thing was unexpected. I almost do wish the show had been billed as a Brooke Gallupe solo show.
The set was kind of up & down. Starting with a few tracks from the new album, which sounded great, but as soon as they got into some of the older stuff the changes seemed very noticeable. C'Mon Sea Legs wasn't quite the same, nor was Broken Ship, and Dear Confessor -- one of my favourite songs, not just of theirs -- sounded completely different. Not necessarily worse, just... different. Most of the newer songs, however, sounded awesome, with maybe the exception of And It Was, also suffering slightly from the Calderlessness. Sound The Alarms, however, was a fantastic song live and He's A Biter even had Brooke breaking some strings.
They ended the main set with a double shot of Nothing Ever Happens and Neighbours Don't Mind, two related songs (from different albums) about the perils of Brooke's apartment. The encore break was short, as they had to be out by 11 for, and I quote Brooke, who was quoting the staff, "The Invasion Of The Hipsters"
Every time I've seem IM they've done random covers, and tonight was no different. After talking about singing it in karaoke after their Chilliwack show the previous night ("if you ever want to sing karaoke with sad cowboys....") and learning it in sound check, they launched into a pretty awesome cover of Thin Lizzy's The Boys Are Back In Town.

Again, I am focusing on the flaws, but it was most certainly not a bad show by any means; rather somewhat of a disappointment. Had I known Calder wasn't going to be there beforehand, I don't think I would have minded nearly as much. And again, her replacement was certainly by no means bad, but they lack of Kathryn & the lack of any sort of keys just made it a completely different show from what I've seen before. And since it seems like she had a diminished role in the most recent album, and wasn't in the newest video for Only Love You For Your Car (which is, by the way, an awesome, awesome video)... I'm starting to wonder and worry about her/the bands future status...

As for the setlist:
Don't Build The Bridge, Only Love You For Your Car, Thank Me Later, C'Mon Sea Legs, Dear Confessor, And It Was, Sound The Alarms, You Got Us Into This Mess, Broken Ship, He's A Biter, So Cynical, Nothing Ever Happens, Neighbours Don't Mind.
(encore) The Boys Are Back in Town, No Such Thing As The Future.