The Peak Performance Project Finale with Bend Sinister, The Left and We Are The City @ Commodore -- 01/22/10

Where the hell do they go from here? Not the bands. I have no doubt they'll all go on to do great things. I mean The Peak. This was the first year of The Peak Performance Project, a seven month long contest put on by the station and Music BC to nurture local talent. There is no way that next year, or probably most subsequent years, are going to be able to match the great bands that came out of it. Last night was the finale show with the top three bands -- Bend Sinister, We Are The City and The Left -- and unveiling of the grand prize winner. A sold out Commodore waited in anticipation to find out the recipient of $150,000 (second got $75,000 and third got $50,000). But first? Music!

First up was We Are The City. We showed up a bit late, due to my own stupidity, but I think only missed a song -- two at most. They still manage to amaze me with their live sets, with incredible energy and being so tight & seamless. During one of the songs, David even rocked so hard, he managed to break TWO strings on his guitar, while Cayne was so into it he bloodied his lip on the mic. (Andy, however, did not punch himself in the groin). They just seem so comfortable on stage, and if they were nervous, you couldn't tell. They played mostly from In A Quiet World, though threw in their new one, which I really like, This Is A Bad Mistake. They also had fellow PPP alum Adrian Glynn up to help them with their In A Minute song from the music boot camp all bands partook in. Wrapping up their too-short set was the fantastic Astronomers, my favourite of theirs and a perfect song to end a set.

Following this, The Peak's Tamara Stanners was out to emcee a bit, calling up all the other bands and announcing they would each get $500. Kuba Oms then proceeded to upstage everyone by declaring he was donating his to World Vision for Haiti, and adding he pressed 100 CDs for the night with all proceeds also go towards the relief fund.

The Left took the stage next. They were the band I cared least about of the night. Not to say I didn't like them; the few songs that I heard on The Peak were pretty good, but I just never really got into them. Anyway, their set was pretty damn catchy, and I might have to look into more of their stuff. They were even the only band to come back and do an encore, due to the chanting of "The Left" after they... left. Their sound really reminds me of someone, and it has since I first heard them, but I just can't seem to put my finger on it.
And in a completely random turn, at one point, near the end, they were joined on stage by two Green Men*
*Just as an aside, people in Vancouver have been obsessed with the Green Men... but I wonder how many people know they the whole thing is from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Finally, after one more interlude to talk about the whole process, Bend Sinister was out, and with one of the most crazy elaborate stage setups I've seen in a while. The best part was the floor lamp over the keyboard, but they also had a gong by the drummer and even some lovely backup singers (including Adaline). They opened by teasing The News, but turned it into Yours Truly and followed with a set that included a good sampling of older and newer material. A couple more PPP members even helped out, as Ben Sigston jump on they keys while Adaline came out front and centre to duet with Dan Moxon on Give In To The Night. As always, the band had a crazy intense energy that is damn near unparallelled, and tore the place down. Again, their set seemed far too short as they ended the night with Things Will Get Better, which is a new one I've heard live a few times and can not wait to be able to get on a record.

Finally, it was time to announce the winners. They brought out the big wigs and bean counters before making the announcements, which I am sure most people have heard by now, so I won't drag it out with false suspense. Third place went to Bend Sinister, which was met with an equal amount of cheers and jeers -- it seems like the majority of people there were hoping/thinking they would do better. Second went to The Left, and the place erupted as they realized that only one band remained to claim first place: We Are The City! It couldn't have happened to three nicer, and more talented, guys.

I have enjoyed the hell out of the Performance Project since the start and this show was an incredible way to cap off the event. If they can even get half the talent next year, it'll still be one hell of an event.