By Divine Right (w/ Aidan Knight & David Vertesi) @ Media Club -- 06/29/10

I have mentioned this for a few other shows I believe, but there have been a lot of shows this year which feature multiple excellent artists on the same bill. This was yet another example of that trend.

David Vertesi was up first, who you may know from Hey Ocean! He hit the stage alone, and proceeded to woo the crowd with his smooth baritone voice and songs that were a little folky, yet not without an edge to them. And if the attentive silence was any indication, the crowd was sufficiently wooed. He played songs off his upcoming album, Cartography, which I can't wait to get my hands on, though part way through the set he mentioned a new Hey Ocean! album in the works, and had band mates Ashleigh and Dave jump on stage and join him for the next song, which was pretty cool.
Last time I saw him, opening for Hannah Georgas, I had mentioned that I would be interested in hearing the songs with a full band, and for his last song of the set, a couple of the members of By Divine Right joined him, for a fuller sound, but not one that departed too drastically from the rest of the songs.

Next up was Aidan Knight. You might think an album like Versicolour might be hard to pull of live, as it is pretty lush at times, and especially in a smaller place like the Media Club. But he was joined by some great musicians, and with instruments like a stand up bass and rotary flugelhorn, the live set sounded as good, if not better, than the album. He started with "The Sun", which started calm before built up into an epic finale, and then treated us to a new song before a few more off the album. Another highlight was "Knitting Something Nice", with its building intensity and, of course, "Jasper", which ended the set with an incredible energy and just about everyone in the room was at least clapping, if not singing, along.
A couple times he mentioned needing to practice his stage presence, but his awkward nervousness translated more into charm than it did, well, nervous awkwardness, as he owned it and joked about it, rather than let it get to him. That, and when he was playing you could see just how at home he was on stage. I look forward to the next time I have a chance to see him live, and hope it's a show of his own, and not just another opening set.

Finally, to round out the night was By Divine Right. To be quite honest, I am woefully unfamiliar with the band, and was there more to see Vertesi and Knight. However, based on what little I had heard of the band, and their reputation alone, I was definitely interested to see them, and they did not disappoint. With just the three of them, they rocked out and I think it would be fair to say they had the crowd completely enrapt. The highlight for me, though, was near the end of the set, they started one song with the three of them on guitars and proceeded to blow my mind with a song that was comparable (if a little less "grandiose") to Explosions in the Sky or Sigur Rós. The way it just rose and rose in intensity, and the crazy effects used at the end to slowly bring it to an end, was incredible. They ended shortly after that, but came back for the required encore, which saw David Vertesi start a dance party at the front of the stage. Then after some convincing from the crowd, and despite a broken guitar, they played one more, possibly their most well know (to me at least), "Five Bucks". That ended with them "trashing" the stage -- mostly just pushing the drum kit over... right on top of the drummer.

Again, another fantastic night in music, and another testament to the current Vancouver music scene. It is really cool to look through the crowd and see members of other bands, there to support their friends and there because they actually like the music. And just more proof that someone needs to make some sort of "Vancouver Musician Bingo" cards to play at the shows.