About a year after releasing her latest album, Victoria's Kathryn Calder returned to Vancouver, bringing along with her The Burning Hell from Newfoundland, for a pretty solid Saturday night double bill.
Playing their last in a string of 60 shows in 60 days was The Burning Hell, who hadn't been through Vancouver for about five years. Their indie-folk sound is full of story-driven songs that were more often that not humourous. Though I wouldn't classify them as a "comedy band", the humour came more through clever lines with Mathias Kom's witty, fast-paced delivery. Songs like "The Strangers" featuring a sordid love triangle involving ex-priests, and "Good Times" about rioting after sporting events, something we in Vancouver are familiar with.
One of my favourites of the set was "Fuck The Government, I Love You" based on the story of Mathias meeting bandmate, saxophonist Ariel Sharratt at a party. She also told the story in duelling vocals, as they got a sing along with the chorus.
They wrapped up their set with one of their oldest songs, and another favourite, "It Happens in Florida". The crowd once more joined in, singing "Love" before the increasingly hilarious/outlandish metaphors for the subject ("Love, it’s like a newborn child: seems interesting when it’s young, gets pedestrian after a while"). They ended the song with a special ending dedicated to Calder & her band, launching into "La Bamba", with Calder sneaking on stage with a tambourine followed by the rest of her band, clearly having fun.
Due to the curfew, it wasn't long before Kathryn Calder was out with her band, launching immediately into the heartfelt "Song in Cm" from her recent self-titled album -- which was sadly accompanied by the guy in the back on the pinball machine, furiously mashing the flippers.
Throughout the set, Calder switched back and forth between keys and guitar, as her voice soared over songs ranging from the simmering "Take A Little Time" and the building intensity of "Slip Away" from her first solo album Are You My Mother?, to more slowed down tunes like "Blue Skies".
After what seemed like way too short of a set, Kathryn brought the evening to an end with a killer one-two combo, "When You See My Blood" erupting into an intense ending, and the straight ahead rocking "New Millennium".
But of course, she was out for an encore of one more song, the hauntingly beautiful "So Easily", where she even slightly adjusted the lyrics, asking The Burning Hell how they could "so easily go... home after the tour".
It's always cool seeing that kind of joking around between bands, especially as they just finished a run of shows together. They were clearly fans, as members of each band were front and centre in the crowd to watch the other, and that kind of relaxed attitude seemed into their performances. It is always entertaining to see Kathryn Calder perform, and it was nice to see The Burning Hell again after so long.
Song In Cm,
Take A Little Time,
Turn A Light On,
When You See My Blood,