Hey Ocean @ Venue -- 02/10/12

This weekend was the first City and Slope festival, a new winter festival that spans from the city centre to the mountains for four days of events. The one I was most interested in was Hey Ocean! at Venue, who are building hype for their latest album, Is; which isn't out for a while, but the band was more than happy to give them out by donation to everyone in attendance, wanting everyone in the room that night to leave with a CD. And not only that, but they had a pretty swell opening band with them as well.

I though I was perfectly on time, but as I got there I could hear Elias had already started. The Vancouver trio of Brian Healy (vocals, piano, guitar), Rob Tornroos (guitar) and Stefan Tavares (drums) were joined by Peter Carruthers on bass, playing songs from their new album Fossils -- due out this Tuesday.
I've known Elias for the better part of the last decade, and have admittedly not followed them too closely, but the new stuff they were playing is probably the best I've heard of them; a moody and dark, alt-rock sound with each member having a great presence and confidence while playing. The highlight of the set was the last song, which I didn't catch the name of, that had Tornroos on vocals as well, and built to a big, climactic ending. It definitely got me excited to check out the album next week.

Not long after, Hey Ocean! hit the stage with a shout of "Hey Ocean!" and kicked it off with "If I Were A Ship", the first song off their upcoming album. The main trio of Ashleigh Ball, Dave Vertesi and David Beckingham were backed up by Andrew Rasmussen on keys, Devon Lougheed on guitar and Timmy "Boom Bap" Proznick on drums, and each member was full of energy on stage; especially Devon, but especially Ashleigh, dancing around and jumping up on the monitors at the front of the stage.
The bands' energy was matched by the insanely catchy songs like the aptly titled, dance inducing "Make A New Dance Up", a fun cover of The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and "Fish", which got a nice pop of recognition applause. They brought down the energy a few times, like with the slow "Islands" -- which was a little too slow in the middle of the set -- but the energy was always brought right back up.
The main set ended with their current single "Big Blue Wave" and an old favourite, "California", and they wrapped up the whole night with an appropriately dance-club-y version of "Terribly Stable", due to the early curfew to let the shiny shirts in to Venue to drink & dance & do what they do.

If I Were A Ship, Make A New Dance Up, Liar, I Am A Heart, Islands, New Love, Fish, Change, Be My Baby, Give, Last Mistake, Big Blue Wave, California.
(encore) Alleyways, Terribly Stable.