The Zolas w/ We Are The City & Henry and the Nightcrawlers @ Biltmore -- 01/27/10

I am pretty sure half of the Vancouver music scene was at the Biltmore last night for The Zolas CD release party. Spotted in the crowd was half of Said The Whale, half of Bend Sinister, Hannah Georgas and a whole bunch more. But with three excellent bands on the bill, and for such a great price, you'd be silly not to have been there.

Henry & The Nightcrawlers were the first out, with the eponymous Henry being Henry Alcock-White of Bend Sinister. He was backed live by Tom & Zach of The Zolas, as well as Spencer from Said The Whale on drums. The sound was a bit lighter indie pop rock -- a couple times was reminiscent of Jason Collett, but not really all that similar. Some really catchy songs, and I picked up the 5 song EP they had at the show (which seemed so homemade, I'm wondering if they were pressed just for the show) and am looking forward to the full length which may be out this spring. The standout songs were Daytime Friend (which is about exactly as it sounds, a concept I'm sure most can relate to) and one which I didn't catch the name of, but featured the attention grabbing line that was something like "better to be fucked than to do the fucking". I will definitely be interested in checking them out next time they're playing.

Second up was Peak Performance Project winners, We Are The City. And what can I say about them that I haven't already said? Except for tonight they seemed exceptionally awesome. Perhaps it was the venue, or playing with their friends in The Zolas, or the pressure of PPP being off, but they were insanely energetic on stage; probably the most I've seen them. And their having a blast definitely helped the music and banter. I especially liked Cayne's joke: "This coffee is so good, it blows your mind... it takes your head off... it's a de-cappuccino." The set was similar to the last few times I've seen them, but this time they handed out homemade shakers for There Are Very Tiny Beasts In The Ground (which were hilariously made from things like empty chlorine jugs). They also covered Said The Whale's Love Is Art, before segueing to one of theirs. They ended again with Astronomers for another great set.

Right then I could have left and it would have been good enough, and definitely worth the money... but there was more! The Zolas hit the stage, with Henry back out to help them out, even though he was "distracted" by Zach's homemade muffins (not a euphemism). They started things off with You're Too Cool, a song that has a reference to the Biltmore in the second line and just cranked up the energy from there. For their whole set of insanely catchy tunes, they kept everyone moving -- We Are The City jumped on stage for an impromptu dance party during Body Ash -- and involved the crowd -- the aforementioned muffins were eventually shared with the crowd, and Zach even jumped into the middle of the audience with the mic for These Days. By the end of it, just about everyone around him could be heard singing along. They finally finished things off with Cab Driver which somehow, somehow, managed to be the most high-energy-holy-shit-wow song of the night.

Again, an incredible night of music. I hadn't heard much of Henry & The Nightcrawlers before, and I'm glad I was able to catch them. We Are The City is always a treat to see live. And as catchy as The Zolas new album is, they are insanely good live.