Get Your Heart On @ Sitka -- 02/14/11

To be honest, usually I just let Valentine's Day slip by unnoticed. But thanks to David Vertesi and Vancouver Is Awesome, I had a destination for the night: Sitka Surf and Skate Shop (of all places). Vertesi had organized a free Valentine's Day show -- what with his album being titled Cardiography and all -- that was a who's who of Vancouver talent. With ten acts on the poster, and a couple surprises, it was a packed night. Each played a few acoustic songs, mostly love songs, with a few covers thrown in for good measure.
(And since there were so many, with short sets, I'll [try to] do short blurbs for each)

Starting off the night was Katie Schaan, out with her ukulele. Her strong voice (more or less) silenced the crowd right off the bat, as she played a song written specifically for VDay. She also called up Thom Kolb for a cover of "In Your Eyes", which they had not only done live before, and was one of the special duet videos for VIA (see them all here).

This led straight into 41st & Home, as Thom stayed on stage, with Katie, and recruited David Vertesi and Adaline to help on backup vocals on his song about Steveston. Adaline, who was not on the bill but pulled out of the crowd, was convinced to play a song, one that had an interesting crowd participation aspect. Instead of just clapping along, she had everyone jingle their keys. Then Thom popped back with his banjo for one more song.

Next up was Steph Macpherson. She opened with a cover of The Magnetic Fields' "Book of Love", before snagging Katie and third great voice, Redbird's Savannah Leigh out to help with vocals on "Best Of You". Katie stayed on stage for Steph's last song, "Summer Salute".

Following the trend of lovely ladies with great voices was Ali Milner. She took the keys for a set consisting of a duet with Vertesi (already the heardest working guy that night) and a cover of "Heard It Through The Grapevine" that had many people singing along.

Treelines, represented by Matt Lockhart, was next. He started off with a "cover" of their song "Calendar" before a proper cover, introduced as "Neil Fucking Diamond!", getting everyone to sing along to "Sweet Caroline", flubbed lyrics and all. He ended with the new VDay song "When I Get Grown", which you can download for free from their website.

Laura Smith and Andrew Braun of Rococode followed and they seemed to play the shortest set. I had only seen them once before, so an acoustic set was interesting, and pretty cool. The songs were no less catchy than with the full band, and I am still eagerly anticipating recorded material from them.

David Vertesi needed no introduction, as he had already been on stage several times throughout the night. Dan Klenner helped out on keytar for "Gentlemen Say". At the show Friday, I mentioned I was vaguely disappointed a certain someone wasn't out to help with backup vocals... so I was thrilled when he pulled surprise guest on stage for "Mountainside". David (and the loud cheers) then convinced Hannah Georgas to play a song of her own, and she complied, singing "The Deep End"

Up next was Shad, laying down rhymes over some back tracks. Ashleigh Ball and Hannah Georgas were out to help out for "Rose Garden", and he ended with some a capella rapping. To be honest, I hadn't heard too much of him outside the singles on the radio, but he was quite impressive live.

Follow that was one of the best band names ever, Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party. Their first song had Ali Milner on organ and some strings, which the most "elaborate" setup of the night. The next couple songs were more stripped down, though, with guitar and keytar. Oh, and there were sparkles eveywhere.

And the night drew to an end with Hey Ocean!, Vertesi back on stage with Ashleigh Ball. "Beatboxer (Who Broke My Heart)" segued into Beck's "Where It's At" and the whole night was brought to an end with another cover, The Ronettes' "Be My Baby". By the end of it, the stage was full of some of the nights performers and the whole crowd was singing along.

By the end of the night, the store was absolutely packed to the door with people, and the atmosphere was more like a group of friends getting together to have some fun -- which is pretty much what it was. I don't how feasible it would be to plan this type of thing every Valentine's Day... but a great night full of awesome talent and covers and collaborations would certainly be a great way to celebrate again next year.