Toque Sessions: Hey Ocean! @ CBC Studio 40 -- 02/23/12

The CBC Toque Sessions are in full swing, with a series of free shows at the CBC Vancouver building, which are also being recorded for broadcast later of Radio 2 and their On Demand section (sidebar: check out the snazzy new CBC Music website).

I was tempted to pass on the Hey Ocean! session, as I had just seen them at Venue, but when I heard they would be running through their whole new album, Is, accompanied by a mini-orchestra of strings and horns, I knew I would have to go. It was a little less intimate than previous ones, as they had moved it downstairs into a bigger setting -- probably to accommodate said horns -- and was seated, but Studio 40 in the bowels of the CBC is a great place where I've seen some pretty amazing shows.

"If I Were A Ship" lead things off, staring with an orchestral build up, and lead into the undeniably catchy "Make A New Dance Up" and the single, "Big Blue Wave". The two Daves took over lead vocals from Ashleigh Ball;  Beckingham for "Islands" and Vertesi for "Jolene", the latter being reminiscent of Vertesi's solo material, and one of my favourites off the album.
The trio was backed, as usual, by Devon Lougheed on guitar, Andrew Rasmussen on keys, and Timmy "Boom Bap" Proznick on drums, the entire band was on top of their game, teeming with enthusiasm which helped people to be shimmying in their chairs to songs like the peppy and upbeat "Change". And, as to be expected, the orchestra gave beautiful depths to the songs, like the beautiful "Steady" and "(for) give", the prelude and buildup to the soaring "Give". They wrapped up the album with the heartbreaking "Last Mistake", but had one more song, a b-side that didn't quite make the cut called "Maps".

I've always been a sucker for an orchestral section, and if I had my way, most of the bands I see play live would be accompanied by at least a small one, so seeing shows like this are always a treat, especially when the band in question is as fun as Hey Ocean!.

If I Were A Ship, Make A New Dance Up, Big Blue Wave, Islands, Jolene, New Love, Bicycle, Change, Steady, I Am A Heart, (for) give, Give, Last Mistake, Maps.