Royal Canoe @ Media Club -- 03/01/12

The last time Royal Canoe was in town, I was -- for some reason -- on the fence about seeing them. But after I did, I wrote "next time they come through town, there will definitely be no fence-sitting". Well, add Hannah Epperson and Elias to the bill, and it was almost a no-brainer to hit the Media Club last night.

Hannah Epperson started off the night with her violin and looping pedals, and immediately wowed the crowd with both. The loops from her amazing violin playing created a great depth from the first songs, which featured a little bit of Beirut's "My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille", and her soft voice fit in perfectly.
Between songs she had some awkward-but-endearing stage banter, and charmed most of the crowd into coming up and sitting cross-legged at the front of the stage. Her short set ended off with what she said was her favourite songs -- and my favourite of the set -- "Murder of Crows".

Next up was Elias, who are hot off the release of their new album Fossils. They started the set with a song I didn't catch the name of, but was one of my favourites of the set, with guitarist Rob Tornroos on vocals, as it built to a giant swirling climax. From there they played mostly from the new album, with a good energy on stage from the whole band -- especially lead singer Brian Healy who was rather engaging, even jumping off stage to run through the crowd and get everyone clapping at one point.
While there are times I think their dark, alt-rock sound may be a little too "Fox-Rock" for me, I can't deny that they have an incredibly solid live show, no doubt honed by their years of playing, and are always enjoyable to watch play.

And finally, Royal Canoe rounded off the night. The stage was absolutely packed with the six members and all their instruments; including but not limited to guitars, bass, several keyboards, and a drum kit & a half. So it was no surprise that they created a huge wall of sound with their synth-driven electronic-pop.
Highlights of the set included the catchy "Hold On To The Metal" off their latest EP, appropriately titled Extended Play (and available on 3.5" floppy disk at the show), "Dumb Waiter" from their first album Co-Op Mode, and the creepy "Nightcrawlin'", which ended the set with lead singer Matt Peters' unique voice filtered through a second microphone, with all sorts of vocal effects. They were back out, though, for a one song encore, which was sadly not "Kasparov", definitely my favourite song of theirs that I haven't seen either time they've played here. But despite that, it was still a fantastically fun and damn good set; they teased being back in May, and I think by this point, going to the show will be a foregone conclusion.