It's like someone booked this show just for me. Three of my current favourite local acts came together to play a show on a Wednesday at the Biltmore: the "Queen of Dark Folk" Skye Wallace, the "Queen of Blues Rock" Miss Quincy, and the "Princess of Pop" Chersea (as Chersea herself described the three of them).
Starting the night off was the synth-pop looper Chersea. On stage alone with a mountain of instruments -- keys, synth, drum pad, trumpet, & more -- she started off with a very moody, bass-heavy song that gradually built layer upon layer, driven by her powerful voice.
From there she shifted into more of a pop/dancey mode with upbeat songs that had the crowd moving, and even participating in her loops; during "Mindporn" she drew the audience up to the stage to record & loop some clapping.
I feel like every time I see Chersea, she's debuting or working with new songs, and this time wasn't different as she wrapped up the set with a pair of new songs. One she had recently re-worked, and the other the only song where she used pre-recorded loops, but it was a big, catchy indie-pop song that's bound to be a hit.
Taking the stage next was Skye Wallace and her band, which included a small string section of Devon Kroeger on violin and Michelle Faehrmann on cello. The strings really gave weight to the noirish, alt-folk sound, as heard right off the bat with the spine-tingling "Monster", setting the tone. In fact later on in the set she picked an apt cover for her sound, doing a stirring rendition of Timber Timbre's "Lay Down In The Tall Grass".
Most of the set focused on her latest album, Living Parts, but one of my favourites of the night was a powerful new one called "The Guiltiest Hymn", which saw Jody "Miss Quincy" Peck jump on stage for some backup vocals. Jody would pop on and off stage a few more times throughout the set to provide vocals, and then once more during another highlight of the set, the haunting "Dead Things pt II" to shred some electric guitar.
She wrapped up the set with "Scarlet Fever", the hidden track from her last album, as I realised that every time I see Skye Wallace perform live, I like her more and more. Her performance, but especially her songs, are so captivating, in both sound and storytelling. They will burrow into your brain to be stuck there for days.
And last but not least, wrapping up the night was Miss Quincy, joined by her backing band The Showdown, Jessie Robertson on bass, Jen Foster on drums, and Christie Rose on keys. They kicked things right into high gear with some blues rock, before getting the crowd to stomp & clap along with the hymnal "Take It To The Well".
From there the set just continued to grow in energy, as they played mostly songs off the latest album Roadside Recovery. "Damn You" has Jody's sultry voice promising "This one's gonna hurt", and "Making Money" with a sexy, slow jam breakdown in the middle of the song, where she slipped in a few (gender-swapped) verses from the blues standard "Good Morning, School Girl". They also played a newer song called "You Remind Me Of Myself", which Miss Quincy dedicated to every person in every relationship who not-so-subtly asked her if she wrote songs about "people".
The set drew to a close with two of my favourites, the pounding, badass "Bad Love" and the gritty, unapologetic "Wild Fucking West". They didn't bother with a faux-encore (which was nice, since it was already after midnight), just playing straight through to the end, finishing off with a killer version of Peaches' "Boys Wanna Be Her". It's a cover that you would never expect, but when you think about it, makes all the sense in the world. Which is my favourite kind of cover.
Unsurprisingly, all three put on strong sets, and I am already itching to see any of the three perform live again.
Photos by Jessica Brodeur