Royal Canoe @ Waldorf -- 05/22/12

It's only been a couple months since the last time Royal Canoe was through town, but I was blown away both times I had seen them previously, and despite some other shows going on that night, it was a pretty easy decision. Plus, I still hadn't been to see a show at Vancouver's Waldorf Hotel, strangely enough, so it seemed like a good show to break in the venue.

Opening the night was the lovely looping violin of Hannah Epperson. She immediately grabbed the crowds attention with her amazing layered soundscapes and a soft but captivating voice. Her set included a Beirut cover, "My Night With the Prostitute from Marseille", as well as her own material, the intricate "Murder of Crows" and "We Will Host A Party", which she closed with, and was probably my favourite of the set.

Not long after, Royal Canoe packed the stage with six members and their assortment of instruments; two drummers, several keyboard and a ton of synth and pedals to create their unique and layered synth-pop wall-of-sound. The band has managed to hit that sweet spot with songs that are dense and complex, yet undeniably catchy and accessible, and their live show is incredibly refined and tight.
They started off the set with "Today I'm A Believer" and the infectious "Hold on to the Metal" off their most recent EP, simply titled Extended Play. Highlights throughout the set included "Dumb Waiter", off their debut album Co-Op Mode, and the dark "Nightcrawlin'", which ended the set with Matt Peters' vocals filtered to give himself deep, almost demonic tone. After tremendous applause, they were back out for one more, "Dear June", which starting soft then exploding into a frantic and explosive ending; a perfect way to end off the night.

Every time I see Royal Canoe live, I am more and more impressed by them, and they are definitely one of the most unique -- and best -- live acts touring Canada right now. It was a great night of music and even the noise bleed from whatever event was happening upstairs couldn't detract from it.