Olympic Shenanigans: The Big Finish.

Here it is,: the last few olympic shows. In the last two weeks I managed to see ten free olympic shows, one ticketed show and one CBC Radio 3 session. Sixteen different bands. As much as I wasn't a supporter of the olympics, I have to admit, the shows were unbelievable. Now, if only Vancouver could get a Rifflandia or SxSW type music festival going... Anyway, on to the last few shows:

Thursday, Feb 25
Backtracking a little before the Mangam/Fanshaw/R3 show, Two Hours Traffic was playing Thursday night at the Richmond O Zone. They were opening for Wintersleep, but I was going specifically to see them; especially because I missed the last time they were in town. Even though it was a short set, they managed to play a decent number of songs, kicking things off with the title track from the new album, "Territory". They played a good mix of songs from their oeuvre, though focusing on the newer material. There were a few I hadn't heard live before, like "Drop Alcohol" and "Happiness Burns", so those were especially great to hear. As usual, they were energetic, with a good stage presence, some other highlights were the infectious "Sure Can Start" and the always-fantastic "Heroes of the Sidewalk".
They capped off the set with "Jezebel", and I don't know how many people there knew them beforehand, but judging by the crowds reaction they gained more than a few fans that night. It was a pretty damn good set, and I can't wait until the next time they come through town for a proper show.
Territory, Stolen Earrings, Drop Alcohol, Nighthawks, New Love, Wicked Side, Noisemaker, Stuck for the Summer, Sure Can Start, Painted Halo, Heroes of the Sidewalk, Back Seat Sweetheart, Weightless One, I Did What I Could, Happiness Burns, Jezebel.

Saturday, Feb 27
This day was supposed to be a great day of music, and it was... but there just seemed to be a bunch of non-music-related minor annoyances that dampened my enjoyment (no, not the rain).

First up was Matt Mays at Livecity Yaletown. According to both the internet and the radio, he was supposed to start at 6:30, so imagine my surprise when I am standing in line outside and I hear his name being hollered... followed by the familiar strains of "City of Lakes". Luckily, I had gotten there early-ish, so I managed to get in at about 10 after six, only missing a couple of songs. (Also, the guy at the gate was an incredible jerkass). I was disappointed to miss "City of Lakes", since that is one of my favourite songs of his (especially live) and "Tall Trees", but the rest of the set was pretty awesome. Both "What Are We Gonna Do Come The Month of September" and "On The Hood" (another favourite) got extended versions, with the latter including Mays adding some Olympic-hype to it, with the line "A whole lot of gold, for us, for us" repeated. He finished with "Cocaine Cowgirl", which ended with Mays soliciting applause for his band, the city, the athletes and even the people in the apartments overlooking the park, before jumping into the crowd and running off, leaving the band to bring the song to an awesome finish.
The other annoyance was that the set was way too short. Lasting only 40 minutes, he only got to play a handful of songs, so there was a lot I wished he had played. But still, Short-Mays is better than No-Mays, so I was still glad to have heard him. I kind of wish I was able to make it to Atlantic House for his show later that night, but I had other plans.
City of Lakes, Tall Trees, Downtown, What Are We Gonna Do Come The Month of September, [mystery song], On The Hood, Cocaine Cowgirl.

Those other plans? The Stills at the O Zone. This marked my seventh time seeing them live, and they were as good as ever, but the annoyances this time were the crowd of obnoxious teenagers and the freaking camera guy, who thought the best possible spot that he could stand was in front of the band. I don't know what kind of idiot he was, but I hope he ends up in the very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre.
Anyway! They hit the stage decked out in various hockey jerseys and started off with a song that is always great live, "Snakecharming The Masses". The extra floor tom gives it the extra power, but I do miss the saxamaphone -- the first time I saw the song live it included Dave playing a sax solo, but it was cut out of the album version for some reason.
Playing mostly from their first and third albums (for some reason Without Feathers got no love...) they got through a good blend of hits and fan favourites. Though despite being the headliner of the night, there set was inexplicably only 45 minutes, so again, there were a bunch of songs I was sad they didn't play... but hey, it was free Stills, I can't complain.
Snakecharming The Masses, Lola Stars & Stripes, Snow In California, Being Here, Of Montreal, Panic, Everything I Build, Hands On Fire, Gender Bombs, Don't Talk Down, I'm With You.

Now that the real world starts back up again tomorrow, I have a feeling I am going to be going some serious live music withdrawl.