It was a cold Wednesday night when a pair of local powerhouses came home to the Commodore, on the final leg of their tour together.
Opening the night was The Zolas, kicking things off with a brand-new song -- possibly called "Transition" -- that, if not their next single, is going to be the fan-favourite-deep-cut off their next album. From there, they sprinkled in a few more new ones, including their latest banger "Bombs Away", which I don't quite think you can call an "ode" to Vancouver, and "Energy Czar" (or "Energy Song", I couldn't quite make it out) singer Zach Gray joking it was yet another post-apocalyptic song from the band.
And of course, there were old favourites for fans to sing along to; during "Ancient Mars" the crowd visibly overwhelmed the band, as Zach had to paused for a second before starting the next verse, the crowd joining in.
As the set came to an end, they clearly wanted to get in as many hits in as they could, with a medley of "Invisible" transitioning into "Strange Girl", and then "Knot In My Heart" at which point Zach split the room, half singing the latter and the other half the chorus of "Marlaina Kamikaze".
Finally, to finish off the set, Zach jumped into the crowd for a beautiful singalong to "Escape Artist", cell phone flashlights dancing above him and throughout the crowd like fireflies, before capping off the set with a bit of a cover of The Pixies' "Were Is My Mind?" and finally, the bouncy "Swooner" (literally bouncy, with the crowd jumping on the Commodore's flexible floor).
Honestly, if that was all, that would have been a worthwhile show. But as Zach reminded us, we still had more to come!
It wasn't long after that before the familiar horns of "YMCA" filled the room and Yukon Blonde (literally) danced their way on stage, launching right in to "Too Close To Love", the lead track off their latest album Critical Hit.
Focusing mostly on the new album, they hit songs like the pulsing "Emotional Blackmail", and "Summer in July", singer Jeff Innes joking it was a song for sad people only, and half-heartedly childing people when he saw smiles in the crowd. Jeff and Brandon Scott's voices blended as flawlessly as ever, with pretty much the entire band backing them on most songs, James Younger even taking over lead vocals on the sultry "Cry".
Other highlights included one my my personal faves, the full-out rocker "Radio" that broke down into a psychedelic interlude before ramping back up, and into the insanely danceable "Saturday Night".
They brought the set to an end with some of their "Favourite People", but of course were back out a few moments later. First, for a fantastic, slightly stripped down (but not quite acoustic) version of "Loyal Man", a song that they introduced as not being able to play often. And they capped off the night in the best possible way: inviting The Zolas back out onstage for a big group singalong cover of "Handle With Care" by The Traveling Wilburys, finishing with both Zach and Jeff surfing through the crowd.
(As a small aside, as much as I'm "over" the whole encore concept, I do love it when bands do stuff like this when coming back out -- stripped down songs, fun covers, jamming with the opening band, etc -- instead of just "and now here's our hit".)
I've seen both of these bands dozens of times over the years, and this may well be the best I've seen either of them, but especially Yukon Blonde, who were firing on all cylinders.
Oh, and check out Christine's photos from the night here!
Yukon Blonde setlsit
Too Close To Love
Love The Way You Are
Summer in July
This is Spain
Rather Be With You
I Wanna Be Your Man
Handle With Care [The Traveling Wilburys cover]
The Zolas Setlist
Freida On The Mountain
This Changes Everything
Invisible -> Strange Girl -> Knot In My Heart -> Marlaina Kamikaze
Where Is My Mind? [The Pixies cover]