Toque Sessions: We Are The City @ CBC Vancouver -- 02/15/13

Now in their fourth year, the CBC Toque Sessions is a series of free shows at the CBC Vancouver building, featuring some great local talent, and recorded for later broadcast on CBC Radio 2 and CBC Music.

One of the Sessions I was most looking forward to this season was We Are The City. Andy, Cayne, and David (back after a brief sabbatical front the band) have just put the finishing touches on their new album, and they decided to debut it for the crowd in Studio 1 of CBC Vancouver. Rolling out the new album front-to-back, it was the first time most of these songs were being performed for an audience.

Bursting to life with a chaotic cacophony of drums, the album was far more rich and layered than you would expect from just three musicians, with the intricate songs ranging from soft and slow to energetic and rocking -- sometimes even within the same song. It was as far a leap ahead of the High School EP as that was from their debut, In A Quiet World.

Some songs that stood out were a spacey and nostalgic (lyrically, not musically) song possibly called "Home Videos" and another possibly called "Shooting Star" which saw Cayne on a grand piano. But the last couple songs were my favourites; first "Baptism" which wove from great three part harmonies to dense and breathtaking guitar riffs, and then the final song, "Punch My Face" which starts with just Cayne on the piano -- absolutely gorgeous and heartbreaking -- before building to an intense wall of sound to close out the album.

For the most part, the band stuck to playing, but they paused a couple times to chat with the crowd. In true WATC fashion, they rambled on entertainingly, interrupting and interjecting into each others stories. Their banter has never felt like practiced "stage banter", rather a couple friends just telling stories and joking around, making you feel that these are a bunch of guys you want to hang around and talk to about celebrity spottings or Community.

The first time I saw them a few years ago I was impressed, and they've only grown exponentially. If this performance was any indication (and why wouldn't it be?) their new album is going to be incredible, and it is definitely one of my most anticipated albums of the spring.