Shred Kelly w/ Loon Choir @ Biltmore -- 08/06/13

Shred Kelly and Loon Choir are two up and coming Canadian bands that you'll no doubt be hearing a lot more from in the future. They're no strangers to playing shows together, and their latest joint tour took them across the country with Vancouver being their last show together, at the Biltmore.

First up, though, was Vancouver's Jer Breaks. One half of Redgy Blackout (who are currently on a hiatus) Jer was performing his own solo material, just him with his guitar on stage.
His songs had a bit of a folky-country bent, that seemed personal and heartfelt -- including one he prefaced as about his first (and last) acid trip. There was also a medley of covers, including some Ryan Adams and Hank Williams, showing off some of his influences.
The set was fine, but there wasn't much variation between the songs. I'd like to see him with a full band, to see how they flesh out.

Up next was Loon Choir. It was the first time in Vancouver for Ottawa band, and they packed the stage with seven members, including keys, synth, and violin.
High energy, dance-inducing synth-rock, with a ton of passion in all the members. But especially lead singer Derek Atkinson who had a fiery spirit; running around the stage, into the crowd, miming actions during songs, there was hardly a minute when he was standing still.
Atkinson was joined occasionally on vocals by Nikki Yates on keys, whose smooth voice balanced out his uniquely imperfect vocals.
The set was full of big, grandiose songs like "Nowhere To Go" and "All Boats Don't Rise", a catchy song with an intense breakdown.
They put on a really strong set, though there were a few times where they could have been a bit tighter, more cohesive -- but they are still a relatively young band, so I have no doubt they'll soon be a force to be reckoned with.

And finally, the five members of Shred Kelly took the stage, the stoke-folk band from Fernie launching right into it with "New Black", the first song of their newest album, In The Hills. The had a huge energy that didn't relent through the set, and their obvious enthusiasm was infectious as the Tuesday night crowd was dancing along.
"Rowed Away" was a great example of their sound, starting soft with keyboardist Sage McBride's gorgeous voice, then exploding into Tim Newton's blurry-handed banjo playing. Sage's strong vocals are a nice counterbalance to Tim's rougher voice -- a lot of bands hardly have one charismatic lead singer, Shred Kelly has two.
Other highlights of the set were the explosive "Cabin Fever" and "Fossils and Tin", a waltz-y song that had the crowd stomping and clapping along. They ended the set with "Tornado Alley", which lives up to its name perfectly, building to a frantic cacophony of sound, as if you're in the storm.
But a vocal section of the crowd was adamant about one more song, a specific one, so they obliged by calling Loon Choir up on stage to help out with the anthemic "I Hate Work", which culminated in the crowd clapping along and shouting their own dissatisfaction with their employment.

New Black, Cabin Fever, Leaving Town, Ghost Inside My Head, Time is Passing, Rowed Away, White River, Fossils and Tin, The Bear. Tornado Alley.
(encore) I Hate Work.