Redbird EP Release w/ Debra-Jean & The Means @ The Kozmik Zoo -- 06/17/11

After months of waiting, the debut EP from Redbird, We're all friends and lovers until it falls apart was ready to hatch. The release party was at a new venue for Vancouver, The Kozmik Zoo (formerly The Hennessey Lounge), which is a restaurant-venue, so it had the usual problems that those tend to, such as an odd and awkward layout and more-than-usual chatter, but the sound was actually really good, and that's what matters most.

First up was Diego Zaragoza, who took the stage with just an acoustic guitar and harmonica. His set started with a little bit of generic-acoustic-singer/songwriter fare, but as the set went on he showed more depth. He also had a pretty strong voice, at one point stepping away form the mic and letting loose, he could be heard at the back of the room. For the last song of the set, he brought up Savannah to help out with vocals.
To be honest, I had a little trouble really getting into the set, since his acoustic folky sound combined with the noise and chatter didn't mesh well, but he was a good opener and I wouldn't mind seeing him play again in a quieter venue.

Next up was Debra-Jean & The Means, with Debra-Jean being, of course, formerly of Mother Mother but now off on her own. The last time I saw her, as part of the Peak Performance Project last year, I was a tad underwhelmed from her set -- but I ended up really liking it this time around. The songs had a very dark and moody feel, that were definitely driven by her stellar voice, and it seems like both the songs and her voice had a much stronger range than previously, which was my only complaint then. Debra also had a great presence, completely owning the stage for her whole set; and to say nothing of her band, the Means, who provided excellent backup.
She's only got a five song EP out right now, but I'm looking forward to what is to come from the band.

And then was time for Redbird. I had seen them [more than] a few times this year, and they just keep getting better and better. The band was firing on all cylinders last night, and Savannah Leigh especially seemed to be brimming with not only confidence, but enthusiasm as well. You could tell she was thrilled to be playing, and that translated to a great set. They kicked off with the first song from the EP, "Therein Lies The Grey" and went on to play all the songs from the album, as well as a few others. Including a brand new one called "Set Me Free", which was really upbeat, and I quite liked. Another favourite of the set was "No Game" (which I've mentioned liking a few times before). They were joined by Debra-Jean on backup vocals for a couple, "Some Birds" & "Oh Please My Heart", and her voice complimented Savannah's voice -- which is equally awesome -- quite well.
They ended the main set with "In The Hands of Ghosts", but didn't even get a chance to leave the stage before the one song encore, with Savannah breaking out her new guitar, one used and signed by a certain influence of hers, Mr. Sam Roberts. (for a moment I was almost expecting a Sam Roberts cover, but it was a Redbird song, "Treasure Map")

Therein Lies The Grey, The West Wind, The Tower, Set Me Free, Some Birds, Oh Please My Heart, Roll Over Me, No Game, In The Hands of Ghosts.
(encore) Treasure Map.