Aidan Knight w/ The Belle Game @ Performance Works -- 02/25/12

For the seventh year running, Granville Island is home to a celebration of food and performance and arts and dance and music for the Winterruption Festival. Last night was a fun show with Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and Acres of Lions, and tonight they've got an even better double bill of Aidan Knight and The Belle Game.

I missed a little bit of The Belle Game, getting there just as they wrapped up "I Wish You Weren't Like A Dead Lover (Sometimes)", with the band going nuts on floor toms. I've had the chance to see them a few times in the last several months, and they just keep getting better, their great stage presence and dense & layered sound filling the room and capturing people's attention.
They urged people to slow dance for the brought things down for a moment with "Shoulders and Turns" and Olivier Clements of Aidan's band, was out to join Andrew Lee on trumpet for "Sleep To Grow". They also had a few new songs, teasing a new album, including the final song of the set "River", with Andrea Lo's vocals taking on a smoky, jazz club feel.

Not long after it was time for Aidan Knight. Even though I've seen Aidan and his Friendly Friends live almost a dozen times now, somehow this is the first time I've seen him headlining a show of his own. They started off with "Land's End" and "North East South West", the latter of which he broke a string during. He was a little flustered at first, but Alex Andrew of The Belle Game saved the day by loaning Aidan his guitar. Knight would self-deprecatingly call himself out on this, and a couple other road bumps later in the set -- including his self-proclaimed "terrible" banter -- but his awkwardness has always been more endearing than anything, and he was as charming as ever throughout the set.
And of course, the music was great. There were some new songs sprinkled in, an untitled one about a girl being in love with a guy who has a fake tan; "Singer/Songwriter", which Aidan introduced as "the 'Inception of songs"; and the magnificently beautiful "Margaret Downe", heartbreaking as always, which is quickly becoming one of my favourite songs the more I hear it.
They ended not with "Jasper" (surprisingly) but with "Knitting Something Nice", starting soft and building to a huge ending. And of course they were back for the encore with a song called "Magic Cupboard" which is "about baking", and finally wrapping it up with "Friendly Fires", with The Belle Game and Zach from The Zolas becoming honourary Friendly Friends, joining them on stage for shakers and clapping and dancing.

The only thing that marred the set was some slight sound issues; the most noticeable being a persistent hum, but it was more a minor annoyance than anything, and didn't stop me from enjoying the set. Knight always puts on a great show, and I am definitely looking forward to the new album he was teasing.

And don't forget, Winterruption continues today, where you have two chances to see Jasper Sloan Yip at Performance Works: an electric set at 12:30 and an acoustic one at 1:45, both free!