Aside from an intimate one-off show last year, it had been quite some time since the last 'proper' show from Vancouver's Brasstronaut. But four years after their album Mean Sun, they've finally released some new music, in the form of a brand new self-titled album. It came out earlier this month, and so they hit a packed Fortune Sound Club to celebrate.
I caught the tail end of opener Speaker Face, an instrumental duo from Toronto that melded laptop synth beats with keyboard and strings. From what I saw they were a fine opener, and set a good tone for the night.
Not long after that, the six members of Brasstronaut packed the stage, as they launched in to a moody song to start things off, the song building to a great swell. From there they wound their way through their last two albums, with highlights including the jaunty "Francisco" & the aptly named "Bounce" from Mean Sun, and the soaring "Raveshadow" & the haunting "Old Pan" from the new self-titled.
For a few songs throughout the night, they were joined by a couple guest musicians, Daniel Ruiz on percussion, and the killer voice of Tonye Aganaba; at first just for backup vocals, but she really let loose on for the last song of the main set, "Climb".
After that, they quickly returned for one more song, "Whitney", which is from the new album, but a throwback to their beginnings with a winding jazz-tinged tune to cap off the night.
At one point singer/keyboardist Edo VanBreeman mentioned it was the 10th year of the band, as they had started playing in basements in 2006, and was very grateful for everyone to be there. And while I was a tiny bit disappointed they didn't play any older favourites -- anything off Mount Chimera -- it was still great to see the interstellar-jazz band again. Here's hoping they'll be playing more shows and touring in the new year.