About eight or nine years ago, I went to go see The New Pornographers play a show here in Vancouver, and discovered Immaculate Machine opening for them. They quickly become a favourite, and that was due in part to co-lead singer and keyboardist Kathryn Calder (who, later in that show, joined The New Pornos on stage to fill in for the absent Neko Case). Since then, Immaculate Machine broke up, Calder officially joined of The New Pornos, and as of earlier in the week, she has three solo albums to her name.
So just days after the release her latest, self-titled album, Kathryn Calder returned to Vancouver to celebrate with a show at the Media Club.
I missed the first opener, Ford Pier, getting to the Media Club just as he was wrapping up. But I certainly didn't want to miss Louise Burns and Her Victims, as she called her backing band. The dimly lit stage was fitting with her darker, noir-pop sound, with songs off her two albums so far, Mellow Drama and The Midnight Mass, as well as teasing her upcoming with a couple new songs -- including one that I didn't catch the name of but had almost a moody-Fleetwood Mac feel to it.
Louise joked about her stage banter (or lack thereof), rather letting the music and her captivating stage presence speak for her.
My two favourites of the set came at the end, and were on pretty opposite ends of the spectrum; first the most rocking song of the set, "Emeralds Shatter", followed by the gorgeously haunting "Heaven", Louise's powerful voice filling the room.
Thanks to the 10:30 curfew, it wasn't long before Kathryn Calder was out, kicking off with the absolutely beautiful "Slip Away" off her first album Are You My Mother?, starting soft and building to a big, indie-pop ending. She went chronological from there with "Turn A Light On" from Bright & Vivid, before the first single from the new one, an incredibly bubbly and catchy anthem "Take A Little Time".
Switching between keyboard and guitar throughout the set, Calder was visibly (and vocally) happy that the latest album was finally released, and that energy definitely came through on the songs, from the upbeat and jaunty "If You Only Knew" to the more down tempo and somewhat bittersweet "Song in Cm", featuring special guest Sam Davidson on the clarinet (who you may know from Brasstronaut).
Kathryn played right up until curfew -- not even bothering with the silly encore tradition -- finishing off the night first with perhaps my favourite off the new album, "When You See My Blood", another song that starts off slow and erupts into a chaotic ending, and the ending the night off on the heartbreaking "So Easily".
Be it with a band or performing solo, I've seen Kathryn multiple times at various points, and it is always enjoyable seeing her perform live. And I am really enjoying the new album, as well. Add Louise Burns to the mix, and it was a great night of tunes.
Slip Away; Turn A Light On; Take A Little Time; Blue Skies; New Frame of Mind; Beach; My Armour; One, Two, Three; Song In Cm; City of Sounds; If You Only Knew; Arm in Arm; When You See My Blood; So Easily.