Run With The Heard (w/ The Zolas & Analog Bell Service) -- 06/30/2010

Every year the Vancouver International Jazz Fest sees almost two thousand of bands descend upon the city for various shows over a two week span. A lot of the shows are not really "jazz", but just great music, and this night was part of the event.

The first band was Analog Bell Service, who I wasn't overly familiar with, outside the odd song I had heard on CBC Radio 3 (and speaking of which, the band included R3 personality Chris Kelly). They immediately won me over by the first song, a cover of Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now". I've always said bands need to do more awesome covers live, and not only did they do that, but also Corey Hart's "Sunglasses At Night" later in the set, which was just fantastic. The rest of the set consisted of new material for the band, and the band had an insanely high energy and enthusiasm. Their poppy art-rock was spacey at times, flat out rocking at times, but always interesting and captured the crowds attention. They said that this may be their only show for the summer, but hopefully I'll be able to catch them again sometime soon.

At this point, the stage was rushed with fangirls, as The Zolas were up next. Their set was a nice length, considering they were not headlining. Starting with "You're Too Cool" -- which got a pop for mentioning the Biltmore, and had most of the crowd singing along -- they hit most of the songs from their album, Tic Toc Tic. But also thew in a new song, "Guest", which I have seen live a few times now and get stuck in my head after each time. As high energy as Analog Bell Service was, The Zolas managed to ramp up the intensity, with Zach especially being a ball of energy, and just oozing charisma on stage. At one point the band had flowers thrown on stage (no garments of clothing, though) and he mentioned they had some cookies baked for them earlier (though he didn't want to share).
Near the end of the set, for the end of "Queen of Relax" (I believe) they actually took the keyboard, while Tom was playing, and carried it into the front of the crowd to finish the song there. At that point, they just decided to stay, with Henry joining them in the crowd, as they had one more song left. The set ended as Zolas sets usually do, with "Cab Driver", a song that always, somehow, manages to top the rest of their set, energy-wise.

The final act of the night was Run With The Heard, who are, according to their website, a "multi genre electro acoustic audio visual band from Vancouver". They started out playing some almost psychedelic rock riffs, but then once the guy got on vocals and started... rapping... things went strange. The rest of the set was a strange combination of rock, dance beats and rapping that never quite seemed to come together. At the beginning, the crowd seemed completely apathetic, but a few seemed to warm up and dance after a couple songs. Though the crowd started to thin, so it was clear people were there more to see The Zolas. There was one cool thing, though, even if I didn't see it for myself; they had a banjo out for one of their songs, but apparently the "banjo" was actually a Guitar Hero controller modified to replicate the sound.

correction: I have just been informed, by Alex from Run With The Heard that "There in fact was a banjo being played live, it and the guitar and vocals are run through FX and chops that are controlled by the guitar hero midi controller and a nintendo power glove. I know its hard to understand wtf is going on especially if you aren't up close."
Ok, that sounds pretty cool.

Despite the... questionable choice to follow The Zolas (and Analog Bell Service) with that, it was a pretty great night of music.