Bahamas @ Biltmore -- 03/27/12

Afie Jurvanen has been around the Canadian music scene for a while, playing with the likes of Feist, Jason Collett, and Zeus, but he's also got his own project, Bahamas. From the first time I saw him on stage I was won over, and since I missed him the last time he was through town, there was no way I wasn't going to be at a sold out Biltmore to catch his this time around.

Opening the night was Vancouver's own Wake Owl, who I had heard good things about, and was intrigued to see. The trio -- as opposed to a five piece they said to have been playing as recently -- took the stage armed with guitars, keys, ukulele and violin for a stripped down, yet still lush folk sound. With nice harmonies and well written songs, they drew the attention of the growing crowd, and definitely seemed to make some new fans. The soaring "Seaside" and driving, set-ending "Gold" that got people clapping along by the end were the two songs that caught my attention most, and I will definitely be on the lookout for the next time they play.

Not long after it was time for Bahamas, Afie was joined by Jason Tait on drums and backed by the immaculate voices of Carleigh Aikins & Felicity Williams. They kicked off the set with the first couple tracks from the new album Barchords, "Lost in the Light" which had all the ladies (and even a few guys) swooning over him right off the bat, and then the incendiary "Caught Me Thinkin'". The set contained a good range of songs, off both the new album and the previous Pink Strat, that were beautiful and tragic and heartbreaking -- sometimes all at once -- and perfectly performed; among the highlights were the upbeat, break-up song "Okay Alright I'm Alive" the strangely romantic "Hockey Teeth". And aside from the excellent musicianship, Afie has an amazing stage presence, so incredibly smooth and an effortless confidence, as well as funny and engaging in his banter between songs.
After they finished off the set with "Never Again", they were out for the encore, an amazing cover of Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How It Feels", getting the sold out crowd involved in a giant sing along, before capping off the night with the soft and beautiful "Snow Plow"

The only thing to mar the otherwise great night had nothing to do with what was happening on stage, but rather the crowd. I am not sure if it was because both bands were more on the quiet side, but there was a conversational din throughout the entire night that was frustrating and maddening. I do not now and will never understand people that pay money to get in a venue, only to talk through, and over, an entire set; especially the headliner. If you're raising your voice over the band to be heard, you're doing something wrong.

But I digress. Bahamas always delivers live, and Wake Owl was a nice treat that I am intrigued to check out again. All in all, a pretty fantastic show.

Lost In The Light, Caught Me Thinkin', Already Yours, For Good Reason, I Got You Babe, Hockey Teeth, Lonely Loves, Southern Drawl, Sunshine Blues, Overjoyed, Okay Alright I'm Alive, Be My Witness, Your Sweet Touch, Never Again.
(encore) You Don't Know How It Feels [Tom Petty cover], Snow Plow.