If you’ve noticed East Vancouver looking a little more colourful in the last little while, that would be thanks to the Vancouver Mural Festival. Over the last week, there have been over 50 new murals going up throughout Mount Pleasant by a variety of artists. And since it was spearheaded by David & Ambrosia Vertesi, you know there’s going to be a musical component as well. Louise Burns & Yukon Blonde played a free outdoor show in the afternoon, and in the evening was the Underplay concert series (with a tough decision of where to be).
Opening the night was The Tourist Company, though I only caught the last few songs. The band seems to have undergone some changes since I last saw them, with a slimmed down lineup and a bit of a different sound. Last I knew, they were more of a folk band, but they've replaced that with a more of an alt-pop, space-y and ethereal sound; perhaps fitting with their latest album being named Apollo, mentioning it was inspired by the space program.
The new album was released last year, and I hadn't checked it out yet (to be completely honest, I was never into their 'folk sound') but based on the couple songs I heard, I will have to give them another shot.
On the days leading up to the show, We Are The City was promising a “loud and trashy” set, and as the trio kicked off with "Baptism" it quickly became clear they were not exaggerating. They played fast & loose through favourites like the frenetic "That's It, That's All", and the raucous "King David", while songs from the latest album Above Club, like "Sign My Name Like ƪƲƐƐƝ" sounded more raw than their album versions.
To go along with the vibe of the songs, the band had an unparalleled energy; Cayne frantically hitting the keys between yelps, David rocking out on the guitar, and especially Andy wailing on his drums. I have seen very few drummers who play with more energy and intensity, and who are more animated than him.
Matching the band's energy was the jam-packed Biltmore, who were singing along -- even when unprompted and to deeper cuts. Near the end of the set, after admitting he blew out his voice, Cayne enlisted in the help of everyone to fill in on the high parts of "Kiss Me Honey", and the crowd more than stepped up to the challenge. After that there was one more left, as they ended off the night with "Friends Hurt", complete with Andy diving into the crowd to surf, and the band leaving the stage one at a time before Cayne made it quite clear there would be no encore, by literally smashing his keyboard onto the stage.
It’s been a while since We Are The City played in Vancouver, especially a venue as intimate as the Biltmore, and everyone involved was glad to have them back. Word is they're finishing off a new album, and while they didn't preview it this night, if it has even half the energy that they shared, it'll be a good one.
Keep on Dancing
Bottom of the Lake
Legs Give Out
That's It, That's All
Sign My Name Like ƪƲƐƐƝ
Happy New Year
Heavy as a Brick
Kiss Me Honey