Sidney York @ Biltmore -- 01/07/14

I would be very surprised if 2014 does not end up being a big year for Calgary's Sidney York. The duo is on the verge of releasing their new album, <3s (or Hearts) and kicked off their tour in their second home, Vancouver, at the Biltmore Cabaret.
But their new album is coming out in a unique way; instead of a traditional release, they are rolling out the album in five volumes, two songs each, released over ten months. "Subscribers" will get the album delivered to their door (and/or digitally) as well as other goodies, like prints depending on their subscription level. You can check all of that out right here.

Opening the night was Seattle's Lemolo, with a very mellow, melodic sound. It was just a duo on stage, a drummer with lead singer Meagan Grandall on keyboard & guitar.
I only caught the last couple songs and the dreamy pop seemed really interesting, but also a little complex; something that you would need to really dig into. There were also a couple of awkward silences between songs, but I would definitely be interested in catching them again next time they're through town.

Taking the stage next was The Gay Nineties. The Vancouver four-piece exploded out of the gates with their infectious sound, blending hints of 60s psych-rock, 90s grunge, and 00s dance-rock. It's a sound that has the potential to come across as tired and old, but there is so much raw talent in the band that they give it a fresh spin.
While they didn't say too much between songs, they had a great energy and stage presence while playing. Malcolm Holt is a great drummer, and fun to watch play live, and frontman Parker Bossley has an effortless charisma.
Almost all of the songs played throughout the set were newer than their Coming Together EP released a couple years ago, and I didn't catch the name of any of the songs, but there were more than a couple that got me excited to see what they've got coming up.

And finally, the band of the hour, celebrating the release of their new album, Sidney York was up to close out the night. The duo of Brandi Sidoryk and Krista Wodelet were backed by some of Vancouver's finest; Niko Friesen on drums, Shaun Huberts on bass, and Noah Walker on guitar. It was the first show of the tour, and the first time this configuration has played together live, so it took a couple of songs for them to get into the groove, to mesh, but once they did they gelled fantastically.

The two girls jumped between instruments throughout the night, keys and synth and guitar and french horn and bassoon and ukulele were all utilised, with the two of then swapping effortlessly. At one point, they even shared the same keyboard for the dark and sexy "Electrolove". Both also had incredible energy -- Brandi could hardly be contained -- which was especially impressive considering about an hour before going on stage, their tour van was towed from the venue.

The set focused mostly on the new album, <3s, with songs ranging from the incredibly explosive and raw "The Lion. The Tiger. The Bear." to the fun and flirty "Weird For You", and the soft and beautiful "Let The Sparks Fly" which saw Krista taking over lead vocals for an absolutely heartbreaking ballad.
The set ended with my favourite off the new album, "Weapons-Grade Love (Watch Your Back)", which erupted into a chaotic cacophony, a perfect ending for the set. It's a great song that exemplifies Sidney York's ability to blend ridiculously catchy pop with sexy lyrics and dark undertones.

Regular readers (all 21 of you) may remember that their previous album, Apocalyptic Radio Cynic, was one of my favourites of 2011, and if <3s doesn't end up making Sidney York into one of the breakthrough bands of 2014, I will eat my virtual hat.

Mile High Love, Hearts, I Wait, Dick & Jane, Math & Fractions, The Lion The Tiger The Bear, Lily's Kitchen, Weird For You, Electrolove, Let The Sparks Fly, Weapons-Grade Love (Watch Your Back).