Opening the early show was Vancouver's this is The Shoes. Usually a two piece, the duo was joined by a drummer and bass player to fill out the band. They opened with a softer song before launching into a set full of dirty and fiery blues songs, with singer Sabrina Robson's strong voice perfectly fitting for their sound.
I always have a soft spot for blues rock -- which they did very well -- but while Sabrina & guitarist Jereme Collette were definitely talented, I felt like they needed to put their own stamp on the sound, like I wasn't listening to anything new. They're only a couple years old as a band, though, so I am interested to see what's next for the band.
Not long after, Shred Kelly took the stage, immediately launching into a more-or-less instrumental song, followed by the explosive "Cabin Fever". Since they first time I saw them, the self-described "stoke-folk" band always been strong and energetic, and they were in top form that night. Especially the shared lead vocals between banjo/guitarist Tim Newton and Sage McBride on keyboard.
Part way through the set they tested out a couple new songs; the first was a comparatively dark song with Sage's powerful voice filling the room, and was possibly my favourite of the set. The other had Tim on vocals, with his ukulele, for a majestic, soaring song. It sounded like it could have easily been in a commercial for Tourism Fernie (which I mean in the best possibly way).
Other highlights were the back-to-back "Tornado Alley" and "The Bear", the former building up to a cacophonous and frantic ending, fitting its name, and the latter featuring some of the fastest hands on the banjo.
They wrapped up the main set with "New Black", but of course they were back for one more, joined by Eric Larocque for the ultimate song to blow off steam, "I Hate Work". Not only did they get people stomping, clapping, and yelling along, but when they "brought it down", everyone on the dance floor took a knee. Most of the time when I've seen bands try that, there are still a few "I'm too cool for this" people still standing, but not this time.
I think that was a major factor to why this was Shred Kelly's best Vancouver show to date; the crowd was fantastic, and each member of the band fed off that energy, leaving everything on stage.
[Intro], Cabin Fever, White River, Rowed Away, Time is Passing, [New Sage Song], [New Tim Song], Fossils & Tin, Tornado Alley, The Bear, New Black.
(encore) I Hate Work.