The Matinée @ Imperial -- 03/01/14

It's been quite song time since the last time The Matinée played a hometown show in Vancouver, and even longer still since they headlined a show of their own. But the Vancouver roots rock band had the Imperial packed for somewhat of a homecoming this weekend.

Opening the night were a couple of bands with ties to The Matinée. Gastown Royals had played shows with them all the way back to their time at the Bourbon, and Good For Grapes had done at least a half dozen shows with. But unfortunately I missed both bands, getting there just as Good for Grapes were wrapping up.

The Matinée took to the stage with the classic "Maybe Tomorrow" blasting over the speakers, unveiling a different lineup than fans were used to. They were joined by Georges "CoolKeys" Couling on keyboard, and filling in for the departed Mike Young on bass was Marcus Rainer (who has played with, I think, about 78% of all Vancouver bands).

They opened the show with a pair of new songs, both high energy getting the crowd into it, before "L'Absinthe" from their album We Swore We'd See The Sunrise. Throughout the night they had a few guests on stage; Kendel Carson came out on violin for a couple songs, absolutely shredding for "Let Her Go", and Shawn Hall from The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer on harmonica for a cover of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's "Ain't No Easy Way".

I've seen The Matinée several times live, and while they never fail to impress, they were certainly on top of their game. Each member has such a great stage presence, from guitarist Geoff Petrie's effortless cool to other guitarist Matt Rose burning up the guitar (or banjo) on his solos. And Matt Layzell has one of the best (and most rare) qualities in a lead singer, knowing when not to be in the spotlight. When not singing he would often fade into the background and let his bandmates -- or even guests on stage -- take the spotlight.

After a huge sing (and clap) along to "Sweetwater" and their big hit "Young & Lazy", they ending the set with "This Town", that build to an explosive end, but of course were back out for a few more. They started the encore joined by Michelle and Michael from the Four on the Floor String Quartet, for the haunting "The Sinking of The Greenhill Park", and after another new song that featured a fantastic drum solo from Peter Lemon, they wrapped up the night as they usually do, with "The Road" and its full-band drum breakdown, making for one hell of a finale.

[New Song][New Song], L'Absinthe, Let Her Go, On Our Own, Ain't No Easy Way [Black Rebel Motorcycle Club cover], [New Song], Sweetwater, Young & Lazy, This Town.
(encore) The Sinking of the Greenhill Park, [New Song], The Road.