First up was Ciseaux, the newly named band of Katie Schaan. I had seen her a couple times this year under her own name and playing solo, but this was the first time with a full band, which included one of Aidan Knight's Friendly Friends, Olivier Clements on trumpet; and it was definitely the best I've seen from her. They opened with "The Ocean" and right off the bat I remembered how floored I was by her incredibly powerful voice, which was the focus of a lot of the songs.
When I saw her the first time, I [half] joked that all her songs seemed to be about boys she had crushes on, but judging by the new songs she was playing -- which made up the bulk of the set -- she's really spread her wings as a songwriter. And the new songs sounded pretty great, with the best being the final song, the dancey and disco'd up "Dance Card" which saw the incredibly bubbly Katie come out from behind the keys and out in front of the stage to dance, drawing the crowd up to the stage to do the same.
I really enjoyed the full band sound, and am definitely looking forward to the new album.
Next up was Stellar Radio Choir, who had a lot more of a rock sound, with a grunge or garage feel to it. That gave it a very 90s vibe, but without feeling rehashed or dated; I felt that they were kind of to the 90s what The Sheepdogs are to the 70s. The trio had a basic guitar/drums/bass setup, with some pretty great harmonies, which saw the drummer singing a lot of the time, and a decent stage presence, though not much banter. They had a pretty cool sound, and while nothing really jumped out at me, I enjoyed their set and wouldn't mind catching them again at some point.
And finally, rounding out the night was Maurice, who was joined by Mike Edel on bass and Vince Vaccaro on drums. Given the calibre of artists on stage, it was no surprised they meshed really well, and JP Maurice had great stage presence, full of raw emotion. Highlights of the well-crafted set were the insanely catchy "Mistake" and "Big Country", which saw the band jump into the crowd to sing; first unamplified, which didn't quite work since it was still a little loud in the venue, but once they grabbed a mic, it sounded great -- especially everyone joining in on the chorus.
After an awesome, intense song that I didn't catch the name of, he ended the set with his brilliant cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" -- which at one point hilariously segued into "Teenage Dream" -- inviting everyone to join him on stage, from members of the two previous bands to random other people.
I really enjoyed the set and am already looking forward to the next time he'll be playing.