Steam Whistle Unsigned w/ Skye Wallace, Miss Quincy & The Showdown, and Dead Soft @ Biltmore -- 12/05/14

Steam Whistle Unsigned is a concert series started by the Toronto microbrewery to promote local unsigned talent, and they returned to Vancouver last week to spotlight three more bands. The ongoing series, which takes place in multiple cities across Canada, also partners with a charity or non-profit that receives 100% of the proceeds of the show. This time it was Music BC, a non-profit society helping support, develop and nurture the BC Music community. (Who was also having their annual holiday party & "SchMusic" event right before the show!)

Kicking things off was Skye Wallace, her three piece band joined by a couple members of the Four on the Floor String Quartet on cello and violin to add mood to Skye's dark, alt-country sound -- her music would be perfect for the theme and score if someone decided to make a Canadian Deadwood.
Starting off with "Carry Our Son", the first song on her latest album Living Parts, her voice swirling around the haunting strings, setting the tone for the set. Highlights included the intense "Monster" as well as a version of Timber Timbre's "Lay Down In the Tall Grass", definitely a fitting choice for a cover song.
Skye invited Jody Peck (aka Miss Quincy) on stage -- the two just finished a tour of Europe together -- to perform a couple songs to end off, including a new one called "Guiltiest Hymn" which I quite liked, their voices blending together really well.

Not long after that, Miss Quincy & The Showdown started their set with just Jody Peck and Skye Wallace on stage doing an a cappella song, their powerful voices supported only by their handclaps, before the members of The Showdown joined the fray. The trio filled the room with their badass rockin' blues sound, which had feet stomping and hips swaying to songs like "What Is Life If It Ain't Strange" and "Making Money".
Skye came out one last time for a song that showed off Miss Quincy's "soft and sensitive side" (though I don't think her mic was on for half of the song) before they kicked the energy right back up with a great one-two punch of closing songs two of my favourites off her latest album Roadside Recovery; the sultry soundtrack to a great night out, "Bad Love", and the gritty & unapologetic "Wild Fucking West".

The three-piece Dead Soft finished out the night, with their grungy, pop-punk a bit of a departure from the previous two acts. They opened their set with the single "Phase", which didn't quite seem as polished live as the recorded versions. They had a rambunctious energy, but a lot of the set sounded pretty similar, the only songs that stood out from the rest was when bassist Keeley Rochon took over on vocals. It was by no means a bad, but the crowd had thinned by the time they finished their short set, capping it off with their other single, "Never Forever".

This was the sixth Unsigned in Vancouver, and having been to almost all of them, they're always a great time. It's an excellent way to promote local music, and help local charities, and I only hope it runs here for as long as it's been running in Toronto (we are on show #6, they just had show #29).