Nadia Von Hahn CD Release w/ 41st & Home @ Media Club -- 10/26/10

Fittingly enough, when 41st & Home didn't play last for their own CD release party earlier this year, I wondered why an act would not be headlining their own shindig. Looks like there would be some sort of strange karma to go around for the Nadia Von Hahn CD release. Admittedly, I wasn't that familiar with Von Hahn, but was there more to see a couple of the other acts that night. (There were also five sets, so I'll try to keep things brief.)

First up was Chantel Upshaw, whose three piece consisted of drums, keys and a laptop. With the occasional triangle or wood-sticks claves. It's been a while since I had seen a triangle at a show... The as-yet-unnamed band played a short set of her light but soulful sound. She had a good presence, but okay banter. Sometimes engaging -- like when introducing "Hypnotized", about numerology -- but other time letting the silence fill the room before the next song. A good set, and perfectly acceptable opener for the night.

Next was one of the acts I was there to see, Christopher Arruda. At his Peak Performance Showcase, I kind of liked his solo tunes a bit better than the ones with his full band, so I was intrigued to see him take the stage alone, with just his keyboard. I've always been a sucker for piano-driven rock. While the sound was less "chaotic and apocalyptic" -- as I described his full band sound -- and more subdued, he managed to keep up a level of intensity and passion to his songs. I've seen full bands that were not able to get that kind of power behind them. I look forward to seeing him again, full band or not, and only realised too late that I forgot to pick up his album, or new EP.

City of Glass was after him, and while they were good, there was something about them that nagged at me through their entire set. They sounded very familiar, and I couldn't place if it was like a certain band, or if they just had that familiar sound about them. It was a good, if a little generic, indie-pop-rock sound that never really stood out. I wouldn't mind seeing them again, to give them another shot... but I won't go out of my way to.

Taking the stage next was Nadia Von Hahn. She came out with a full band, in a 20s Flapper dress, with a sound that very much fit her attire. In fact, she did a cover of  "Why Don't You Do Right?" near the end of her set which was very fitting. She had a really captivating stage presence, and some good banter, especially with (and by) her guitarist. Her sound was very interesting, and I look forward to listening to the album -- which was given out to everyone with the purchase of a ticket, in a gift bag that also included candy. Best CD release ever.

Finally, 41st & Home wrapped up the night. And I will try not to rant, but because of the terrible schedule of the public transit system, it was either leave early... or be stranded in downtown until 3:30 in the morning. I chose the former, so had to bail after only two songs, which I felt terrible about (and mad, since they were the act I was there to see most). I will say, the song they opened with -- which I think is a new one -- was probably the best single song I have seen them play live; a cool intro and great energy behind it. Second up was "Great Bear" which, as many of their songs do, starts slow and builds to a grand climax. Hopefully they'll play again soon enough, and I'll be able to catch the whole thing.

Oh, and through much of the last half of the show, the balloons were flying, bouncing off everyones heads-- accidentally or less so. No one can resist a good game smack-the-balloon! (Not a euphemism.) Aside from the Terrible Translink Tragedy, it was a pretty darn good night in music.
And I can't help but wonder if I'll see Von Hahn headline someone else's CD release party in a few months.