It seems like fundraising cover nights at the Biltmore are all the rage right now. After a couple of nights in the past few months organised by David Vertesi for SingItFwd, it was JP Maurice's turn, as he presented his Peak Performance Project fundraiser, Cover Up For The Planet, "a celebration of Vancouver's music for Creatively United for the Planet."
With an all star backing band consisting of JP himself as well as Conner Tkach on guitar, Marcus Abrams on bass, Will Watson on drums, and Owen Connell on keys, they were joined by a bevy of Vancouver musicians covering... well, other Vancouver musicians. Many times, people they were sharing the stage with that very night.
Which I will say off the top, was probably my only "gripe" about the evening. At parts it seemed a little self-indulgent or self-congratulatory (for lack of better terms). It was a very enjoyable night, don't get me wrong, but aside from a few exceptions, a lot of the songs chosen were from within the same "scene". I know JP said on stage it was a celebration of the music community, but I kind of wish they had spread a little further out to the dozens of amazing Vancouver bands.
That being said, it was the first night they were doing this, and especially impressive that the backing band was coming together in a short time to learn that many songs, so I am certainly not holding it against them. That one minor annoyance didn't take away from how fun the night was, and how neat the concept can be.
Much like the other cover nights, I won't give a whole rundown (I'll let Christine's pictures do the thousand words thing) but I will share a few of my highlights. One of which came very early on with Eric Larocque covering a one-two punch of Black Mountain; a decent version of "Modern Music", but then an amazing rendition of "Don't Run Our Hearts Around", with him almost matching Amber Webber's soaring voice (no easy feat).
One of the big surprises of the night was Jasper Sloan Yip's choice. While some cover choices during the night were a little obvious, the folk-pop singer went outside his wheelhouse (but clearly not his comfort zone) and just nailed prog rockers We Are The City's "King David".
The other surprise of the night came during the first of the two Yukon Blonde covers, "I Wanna Be Your Man", as pop singer Kaylee Johnston came out and had my jaw on the floor with her voice. I didn't know who she was before that, but I definitely do now.
The second Yukon Blonde cover was no surprise at all, with Tonye Aganaba expectedly crushing "Saturday Night". As much as I like Jeff and Brandon, I almost want to see a full show where they are replaced by Kaylee and Tonye.
Tom Van Deursen of The Boom Booms unquestionably had the most energy of the night as he sprung around the stage singing Current Swell's "Honest Man" inciting a singalong, and the other big singalong came with The Matinée's Matt Layzell bringing his charms to Aidan Knight's "Jasper"
All in all, the night was a nice show of community, of camaraderie, and the respect & friendships these Vancouver musicians have for their peers. If JP turned this into an annual thing, I would definitely go again next year.
And now, the rest of the night courtesy of Christine McAvoy:
"Camilo (The Magician)" by Said the Whale, as performed by Tristan Orchard (Bestie)
"Modern Music" & "Don't Run Our Hearts Around" by Black Mountain, as performed by Eric Larocque (Broken Down Suitcase)
"Letterman" by Gay Nineties, as performed by Marty Zylstra
"Little Things" by Willhorse, as performed by Clay Frank (Head of the Herd)
"Lady Venom" & "Watch This" by Swollen Members, as performed by Roderick Campbell (Mindil Beach)
"King David" by We Are The City, as performed by Jasper Sloan Yip
"Thought About July" by Mike Edel, as performed by JP Maurice
"I Wanna Be Your Man" by Yukon Blonde, as performed by Kaylee Johnston
"Simply Simple" by Mother Mother, as performed by JP Maurice
"The Do Nothings" by Fields of Green, as performed by JP Maurice
"Swamp Fang" by Rolla Olak, as performed by Jeremy Borshneck (Willhorse)
"You Know" by The Boom Booms, as performed by Buckman Coe
"Knitting Something Nice For You" by Aidan Knight, as performed by Francis Hooper (Goodwood Atoms)
"Jasper" by Aidan Knight, as performed by Matt Layzell (The Matinée)
"Saturday Night" by Yukon Blonde, as performed by Tonye Aganaba
"Honest Man" by Current Swell, as performed by Tom Van Deursen (The Boom Booms)
"Hey Judas" by Fine Times, as performed by Jaime Smail (Tough Lovers)
"Night Eyes" by JP Maurice & Tough Lovers, as performed by Savvie
"Happy New Year" by We Are The City, as performed by Kale Penny
"The Other One" by JP Maurice, as performed by Ari Neufeld
"Too Much" by The River & The Road, as performed by JP, Savvie, and Jeremy