The night started out with The Zolas' Zachary Gray playing a solo set. I wasn't actually sure what Tom-less Zolas songs would sound like, but I should have had more faith in Zach, as he was able to pull off the songs with his usual effortlessness. They were different, sure, but they were definitely not weird... or worse.
It was only a short set of half a dozen songs, and mostly Zolas songs, but he threw in a couple songs from his old band, Lotus Child, as well. I am woefully unfamiliar with Lotus Child, so those songs were cool to see. He ended with "Marlaina Kamikaze", which was probably the most different from the original, but also best song of the set. I also finally captured the new(ish) song "Guest" on video, after it getting perpetually stuck in my head every time I see it live. Not great video quality, but the audio is what matters.
You're Too Cool, Guest, Coelacanth (LC), Gossip Diet (LC), The Great Collapse, Marlaina Kamikaze.
Second up was David Vertesi, and before he even started, the crowd was singing him a very off key but well meaning rendition of happy birthday. He was joined by David Joseph on bass (or sometimes keytar) playing from his debut solo album, Cardiography. His set was also just a handful of songs, but his smooth voice and charm got the crowd shoulder-shimmying along. Aside from his own songs, part way through the set he called up his Hey Ocean! bandmate Dave Beckingham for some help, only for the three Dave's (all in plaid) to be joined by Ashleigh Ball to play Hey Ocean!'s "Jolene". Another highlight of the set was "Hearts Don't Break, People Do" which, given the lyrics, would be strange to call heartbreaking, but the emotion that poured out from the song was palpable.
At the end of the set, he was surprised on stage by a cake, and another happy birthday singing.
Gentlemen Say, Mountainside, Broadcasting, Jolene (HO!), Soft Skin, Hearts Don't Break People Do, All Night, All Night, All Night.
And finally, it was time for Henry & The Nightcrawlers. Tonight, the Nightcrawlers were to be played by Zach G on bass, with We Are The City's Andy & Cayne on drums & keys (respectively). That was the lineup that I last saw them as (making this the first time I've seen Henry play with the same backing band, interestingly enough) and the lineup that just finished a short tour. It was probably both of those factors that helped this be the best set I had seen from the band yet. The way each of them played off each other, both while performing and even stage banter, you could tell (even before Henry admitted it) that the four guys on stage were best friends. They played all of the new album, though not in order, with a couple highlights being "On A Week Night", which had a fantastic build to the ending, and "Amberly" with a slight lyrical adjustment, giving a mention to one Brenda Lee (the blogger, not the singer).
After a brief mention of Billy Bishop, who the place they were playing in is named after, they played a cover of The Kinks' "Strangers", and "ended" the set with the title track to the album, "100 Blows".
I've always said I like encored better when they are short and consist of something special, either covers or jamming, not just a couple more regular songs -- those should be in the "main" set! -- so I quite enjoyed the one-song encore, which was a cover of Elliott Smith's "Needle In The Hay".
I should be used to it by now, but I never fail to be impressed with the music community that has been built in Vancouver. Tonight was another prime example of musicians from various bands who are willing to come together and support not just their follow musicians, but their friends.
The Fight (La Lucha), Daytime Friend, The New Guy, The Fucking, On A Week Night, Amberly, Girl Drinks Red Wine In A Bathtub, Fan The Flames, Strangers [The Kinks cover], 100 Blows.
(encore) Needle In The Hay [Elliott Smith cover]