SchMusic BC Christmas Party w/ David Vertesi, Maurice & Sidney York @ Electric Owl -- 12/07/11

As December comes, so too do the holiday-themed parties and shows. And of course the fine folks at Music BC aren't going to let the season go by without the SchMusicBC Christmas party; some mingling of industry types, followed by a trio of great bands. Bands that regular readers (all 17 of you) will know I am quite fond of.

First up was Sidney York, with the usual trio of Brandi Sidoryk, Sheryl Reinhardt on oboe and Krista Wodelet on bassoon joined by an all star supporting section of Devon Lougheed on guitar, Luke Cyca on drums and bassist extraordinaire Shaun Huberts.
The set started off with Brandi on guitar for "Tea As It Should Be", but she was soon on the keys, where she remained for most of the night -- with a couple exceptions when she broke out the french horn or ukulele. And, as usual, her vocals were powerful and spot-on.
The band, especially Brandi, has always had a great energy and presence but this time seemed everything seemed to be turned up a notch, with the band meshing together so beautifully, and both Sheryl & Krista seeming even more outgoing than previously.
Aside form their own material, part way through the set they threw in a cover of The Naked & Famous' "Young Blood", which sounded great, and they ended the set, somehow topping the energy with "Roll With Me". My only complain about the set -- and the night in general -- was the sound at the Electric Owl was not the best. There were a few moments of feedback and occasionally it seemed the bassoon sounded too low; but aside from that, it was best set I've seen from them this year, definitely energy-wise if nothing else.

Next up was Maurice, who I have seen a few times now this year and am liking more and more every time I see them. Joining JP Maurice was a who's who of Victoria musicians with drummer Jason Cook, Mike Edel on bass and Adam Sutherland on guitar. They opened with "Big Country", and the the set just built with energy from there, with JP's fantastic presence and raw emotion driving the energy and intensity of the songs.
There were a few new tunes, which sounded great, and some off the recent Noverdubs EP, including the fantastic cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" and the insanely catchy "Mistake", during which Maurice lived up to the the "schmooze" part by hopping off the stage and asking a few people up front who they are and what they did. After a couple more they brought out another cover, this time of Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party's "Robin", which had the band going all out, ending the set with a bang..

And finally, rounding out the night was David Vertesi, who -- much like the previous acts -- surrounded himself with some great and notable musicians; Juno winning Peter Carruthers on bass, Dan Klenner on drums and Andrew Rasmussen on guitar and keys (and keytar). I've seen Dave several times this year, with various members in his band or even solo, and this configuration, which I think is the permanent lineup, definitely worked together the best. Everyone, especially Vertesi, was completely at home and comfortable on stage, with Vertesi's effortless charm and a smooth baritone that lulls you into the songs that are often about love, and usually brutally honest.
The set ranged from the more upbeat, getting people to dance -- or at least shoulder shimmy -- with "Broadcasting", then completely shifting gears to more heartbreaking songs like "Learn To Run", as well as a cover, with his own take on Spice Girls' "Say You'll Be There". It not only got a good number of people dancing at the stage, but Vertesi even had his own little choreographed dance for one of the verses.

Even if the sound in the Electric Owl still leaves something to be desired, it was still a fantastic night of local(ish) music and company, and I am already looking forward to the next SchMusic BC party.