Hannah Georgas @ Venue -- 05/22/10

photographs courtesy of the awesome Leigh Eldridge.

It was a homecoming for Vancouver's Hannah Georgas, as her CD release party hit Venue last night, and she brought along some amazing talent with her. The CBC Radio 3 sponsored show started early -- at about 730, for the 10 o'clock curfew -- and Tariq Hussain and Chris Kelly were there to host, introduce the act, and give out prized (like the highly coveted Radio 3 scarf).

First up was David Vertesi, who is probably better known for his work with Hey Ocean! He hit the stage alone and played a short set of songs from his upcoming solo album, grabbing everyones attention (especially the ladies) was his baritone voice. The songs themselves were a little folky, but with an edge to them. They were all good, but it was just him on stage, and I would be really interested to hear them with a backing band. Not that they didn't stand up on their own, but I think a fuller sounds would elevate them from good to great. You could tell he was maybe a little nervous, but not so much that it distracted from the set, and by the end he seemed much more comfortable. He mentioned having an album out a little later this year, so I will definitely be on the lookout for that.

Next up, after an amazing introduction from Chris Kelly, was Colleen Brown and she was a perfect fit to open for Hannah Georgas. Kelly introduced her by saying she was so much more than just a singer/songwriter, and that is a good way of describing her sound. It was catchy folk-pop, but her amazing voice was the star. She had the crowd captivated after one song with her powerful pipes (especially the guys), and kept it for the whole set. Most of the set was her on the keys and a guitarist, but for the last few she brought out a full band, and ended the set with what she called her "ball buster" song, which was an incredibly apt description for it. I really wish I had cash to spare to pick up her album, but I guess I will

And finally was Hannah Georgas. She started off with just her and Robbie Driscoll on ukelele and the light and romantic "Something For You" before the whole band came out to kick up the energy with "Bang Bang You're Dead". The set consisted of just about all her songs from both the new album, This Is Good, and last years EP, The Beat Stuff, and each and every one was just as good as the recording, if not better. Her excellent voice and range of songs, from insanely catchy pop to moody revenge to soft and beautiful, all translated perfectly live. Highlights were the acerbic Mama's Boy, a favourite of mine, the moody and dark "Thick Skin" (which I got a middling-quality video of) and "Deep End", that saw Colleen Brown join her, and the rest of the band, for the gang vocals. She had a great stage presence, too, maintaining a high energy and the occasional bantering with the crowd, she seemed absolutely calm and at home on stage, and genuinely happy to be there, especially for the hometown show. The set "ended" with All I Need, which started out calm and low, and gradually built and built in intensity until the band was just going all out.
They came back out a moment later for the obligatory encore with Dancefloor, a song about the lack of good places to dance in Vancouver, and it's high energy definitely turned Venue into a dance hall, if only for the one song. After that was a new(ish) song called "Ode To Mom" before she took a seat at the keyboard for the final song, "Shine".

I've said it before, but there have been a handful of shows this year where every band playing has been great, and this show would absolutely be one of those.

Something For You, Bang Bang You're Dead, Chit Chat, Lover's Breakout, Thick Skin, Here it Goes, The National, Let's talk, Mama's boy, Lovesick, The Beat Stuff, Deep End, This Is Good, All I Need.
(encore) Dancefloor, Ode To Mom, Shine.