Then & Now @ Biltmore -- 08/20/13

The brainchild of Vancouver's beekeeper, Then and Now is a simple concept; take a handful of local artists, and get them to play a brand new song & an old song-- their newest, shiniest song, and one of the first songs they wrote, potentially embarrassing. 
The night was also a fundraiser for Megaphone Magazine, a local publication that is sold by the homeless or low income people, who get to keep the profits of their sales.

Starting off the night was Redbird, and Savannah Leigh Wellman really took the concept to heart, setting the bar for the rest of the night. Her "then" song was one written in high school, influenced by pop-stars, called "Make Your Move", that peaked when Savannah started rapping. It was exactly in the spirit of the show, and as amazing as it was cringe-worthy. Her "now" was a brand new song, thematically similar but decidedly more mature.

Buckman Coe was up next, his older song being a folky love song, while his new was more reggae influenced.

Victoria musician Katie Schaan, better known as Ciseaux took the stage next, starting with an acoustic guitar and the song "Close To Me" off of Katie's debut album, which was put out under her own name. 
Her new song was a love song about a boy, played on the ukulele. After wrestling with some technical problems, she ended up unplugged it and perched on the front of the stage, completely unamplified, her powerful voice still filling the room.

Devin Miller from Young Pacific was the first of the night to break from the acoustic, with his electric guitar. His first song was about friendship, or a lack thereof, and his newer one made use of his pedal board, for a song that was a bit more spacey and ethereal.

Wrapping up the first half of the night was the super secret surprise guest, Bed of Stars. Like many others throughout the night, his "then" song was a love song. His "now" was a pretty chill newer song.

After a brief intermezzo, Skye Wallace took the stage to start the second half. Joined by Alex the cellist, her first song was one written when she was a teenager. Her new song was one called "Monster" and built to some absolutely intense vocals.

There was a change of pace as spam poet Duncan Shields was up next, also joined by Alex the cellist. His nerd-themed pieces included a "then" which used video games as a metaphor for his ex-girlfriend, with great wordplay & puns, especially for video game lovers. His "now" was something he described as "filk music", which was taking folk songs and rewriting the words to make them nerdier. His was to the tune of "If You're Happy & You Know It" and was about Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Ford Pier. His "then" song had a very 90s-Canadian-vibe to it, and Pier took the concept of "now" to an extreme; he had only finished writing the new song at 6:30 that same morning, and it had never been performed out loud before.

And wrapping up the night, beekeeper themselves. The only full band electric set, Devon surprised his bandmated by choosing "Nice Lunch" for their "then", an old, rarely played song from their first album. They then wrapped up the night, with their newest, called "Arms Length". As with just about everyone throughout the night, it was an interesting juxtaposition between the then and the now, seeing how the songwriters have progressed.

The first time they did this show, last year, it ran a bit long, but this year did not drag at all. With a leaner lineup, the night zipped along at a fine clip, and I can only hope they plan on this again next year. It's a fantastic concept for a great cause.

Jordan Klassen @ Media Club -- 02/17/12

Over the last few months, two local(ish) bands have been getting some big exposure from spins on The Peak. The first is Bed of Stars, from Evan Konrad's collaboration with Neverending White Lights and their own single, and the other, Abbotsford's Jordan Klassen. So it was of little doubt that the CD Release show for Jordan Klassen's Kindness EP would sell out the Media Club.

First up, though, was Northcote, which was Matt Goud on acoustic guitar, kickdrum and harmonica -- sometimes all three at once -- backed by Blake Enemark (briefly of We Are The City) on electric guitar. He had a straightforward folk singer-songwriter sound, but he was elevated above the generic with both the songwriting and the emotion he put into the songs. His set was fairly short, and I regret not picking up a CD, as I would definitely like to hear more from him in the future.

Second up was Bed of Stars, for a more synthy, electronic pop sound. While they have definitely had a fair amount of hype surrounding them, I thought their live show was just okay. It certainly wasn't bad, but nothing really stood out as songs flowed together, and his vocals seemed consistent through each one. But that being said, I can definitely see promise in the band; it was only their third show ever -- and first with their new guitarist -- and I can see them getting a lot better. After a cover of Kings of Leon's "The Bucket", they ended with the highlight of the set, their single "Falling Apart", which Evan Konrad sent out to The Peak for supporting them, Klassen, and local music in general, and was the high

And finally, the stage packed for Jordan Klassen with over a half dozen musicians backing him, including some familiar faces; Indiana Avent, Jocelyn Price, and Ben Appenheimer. The inclusion of violin, cello, keys and more gave Klassen's folk-pop a grandiose and rich sound that was nearly too big for the Media Club.
He kicked it off with "Call and Answer" from the Kindness EP and "Piano Brother", which will be on his upcoming full length Repentance, both of which set the stage for the rest of the set with the symphonic rises and falls. Klassen had a great enthusiasm on stage, despite admitting he was a touch nervous at the sold out crowd, and barely having enough room to move around at times.
As the set went on, the musicians came and went, with as few as two people -- Jordan and his ukulele, with the cello for "Threads" -- but everyone was back for three huge songs to end the set, which were my favourites of the night. "The Horses Are Stuck" started soft and swelled a chilling chorus with everyone on stage providing vocals; one that I didn't catch the name of, which absolutely exploded into a cacophonous ending; and finally "Go To Me", the single from The Peak that blossomed to a grand climax to close out the set. He was back out for one more, though, a softer, slower song called "Ask Me Not, Astronaut" to send off the crowd into the night.

Overall, it was a pretty good night of music, and I already can't wait to see Klassen again, no doubt in a well deserved much bigger venue.