Analog Bell Service (w/ Tariq) @ Railway Club -- 09/10/10

I'm not sure how it happened, but it seems like forever since I had been to a show at the Railway Club. It's probably one of the better live venues we have, but perhaps because of it's size, you have to catch bands at just the right point to be able to see them there. Last night featured two Vancouver bands who will be no doubt moving to bigger venues soon enough. Both also had the CBC Radio 3 connection, with members being hosts and/or behind the scenes work.

While he wasn't first up for the night (that went to Aunts & Uncles, who we missed), Tariq was the first act we caught. He was joined by Brasstronaut-bandmate Brennan Saul, Colin Cowan & Chris Kelly (of Analog Bell Service) and Jody Glenham as his backing band. I'm not sure why, but when I first heard Tariq's solo material, I was a bit surprised that it had more of a folky, almost alt-country sound to it. But it really works well for him. There was especially one song that struck me, as it did last time I saw him play, called "Front Row Seat" which is a love song by way of concert seating. Which sounds awkward, but turns out really well written. He was also joined, at one point, by Brasstronaut trumpeteer Bryan Davies for a song. I think I liked the first time I saw him a little better, at Little Mountain Gallery, because there seemed to be more banter/joking that time, and the "encore" with Tariq playing in the midst of the crowd... but that kind of thing is a bit more difficult at the Railway.

And hitting the stage around 1am was Analog Bell Service. This was my third time seeing them in about as many months, and probably the best of the three. The other two they were openers, so this time they had more time to stretch their legs. Their energy was through the roof, as usual, as they burst through their poppy art-rock sound. I guess that is how you would describe it, they have a hard sound to peg down. Aside from the songs from their self titled album, they played some brand new stuff and a few covers, as they seem to like to do; "Sunglasses at Night" and "I Can See Clearly Now", both of which they've done before. They also threw in a really cool cover of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition", their sound giving the song a really unique twist. They also teased covering The Pixies at one point, I think, but it wasn't to be. The set was wrapped up with "I Guess", which they went completely all out for, somehow managing to raise the intensity. So much so that Chris Kelly even seemed to break his guitar somehow. Because of that, it didn't seem like there was going to be more, but the crowd brought them back for a for-reals-encore, which saw them pull their friend (and bandmate, or former bandmate, I am not sure) Chris Leitch for vocals on the last song, "There She Goes".

Despite the fact that they went on so late (Tariq started at almost midnight, ABS just after 1am), it was still a damn good show, and I will definitely be seeing either of them next time I have the chance.

PS: I don't know who made the poster for the show, but I love the Python-ness of it.