Paper Lions @ Media Club -- 11/15/12

You know when you see a band, and it boggles your mind why they aren't as big as they deserve to be? That was the feeling after seeing PEI's Paper Lions. They're on the tail end of a cross-Canada tour and they hit Vancouver on a Wednesday night to a modest crowd at the Media Club (they were also competing against the double bill of Elliott BROOD & Wintersleep at the Commodore).

Evidently I completely (and obliviously) missed Pigeon Park -- which was unfortunate -- and got there just before Winnipeg's Les Jupes went on. Part of the Head in the Sand label, the four-piece had a dark and moody, yet catchy, rock strengthened by the driving guitars and deep vocals of Mike Petkau, occasionally contrasting with the backup vocals of keyboardist Kelly Beaton.
They had a good stage presence, and mid-way through the set, during some technical troubles with their keyboard, Petkau covered smoothly, replacing the potential awkward silence with a couple purposefully corny jokes.
It was a solid and enjoyable set, and I wouldn't mind seeing more of them in the future.

It wasn't long before the PEI quarter Paper Lions took the stage, launching into "Don't Touch That Dial", the high-energy and fun song setting the stage for a night of incredibly infectious pop-rock with tight harmonies from the band. All four members are excellent musicians who blend together perfectly, all with a great stage presence; especially lead singer John McPhee, who was switching between guitar and keys with an effortless charm, chatting with the crowd between songs and encouraging everyone to dance along with songs like "Sweat It Out", which proclaims "I'll sweat it out from 9-5 to sweat it out on Friday night". 
Other highlights included "Ghostwriters" from their most recent release, the stripped down acoustic EP At Long Creek, "Strawberry Man" going back to their days as the Chucky Danger Band, and "Travelling", which got the crowd singing along. They also sprinkled in a few new songs from their upcoming album -- recorded here in Vancouver -- teasing a release date of early next year.
They "ended" with my favourite of theirs, the raucous "Lost the War", before coming back out for a couple more, a song written after an unfortunate meeting between their tour van and a moose, and yet another new song called "Philadelphia".

The show was just over an hour full of energetic and fun indie-pop-rock, and if it was any indication of their new album, it is going to be fantastic.