Adaline CD Release @ Biltmore -- 11/05/11

After spending several months in Toronto working on her new album (with a guy you may know... Hawksley Workman?) Adaline returns to Vancouver to celebrate the recent release of said CD, joined by a couple more pretty cool acts.

First up was Rococode who, as I am sure I have said before, has been one of my favourite new bands this year. I've seen them a few times recently, and they were just as good this time, despite Laura's fresh hand injury, having received stitches the day before. As usual, the set was incredibly tight with superb harmonies (including some surprisingly high notes from bassist Shaun Huberts) with highlights being "Empire", which always gets stuck in my head, and the raucous "Blood", which is a great way to end the set.

Wild in Waiting, Dreams, Weapon, EJ(ay), Empire, Blood.

In Medias Res was up next and for full disclosure, I went to high school with some of the members, and so saw some of their very early show... and they were pretty much the usual high school band; and since I have not seen them since then, that's kind of how I still remembered them. (Which is my own fault, not theirs.)
Hitting the stage one at a time, with Rob Tornroos from Elias on drums, and lead singer Andrew Lee (not that Andrew Lee) on pedal steel they started with a slow building song. Their sound was a dark, post rock/math rock that was definitely was not bad, but just not necessarily my thing. They are definitely good at what they do, and I liked the slower, more melodic songs, but many songs broke down into a bit of chaos, and those I didn't care for as much.
There wasn't much banter, Lee mumbled into the mic a few times, thanking us and saying since the show had a curfew, they'd just keep playing. But they had a good energy, especially on the more chaotic songs, with Andrew at one point falling over without missing a beat, and a couple times equipment almost toppling.

And finally, Adaline hit the stage, with a backing band that including her her brother on keys and Robbie Driscoll on guitar. She started with "Silent Player" and "Stereo",  the first two songs from her new album Modern Romantic. Both -- especially "Stereo", one of my early favourites off the album -- were extremely energetic with her incredibly strong voice driving the sexy electro-pop sound. She also had a great presence, confidently going right up to the front of the stage a few times, when not on keys or synth.
She focused on material from the new album, playing nearly the whole thing throughout the set, with highlights being the driving and quite catchy "That's What You Do Best" as well as the first song of the encore, the soft and beautiful "Cost Is Too High"; after which she was surprised with flowers from her mother, sharing with the audience for the last song, "Sparks".
Even with a minor technical problem with the microphone (that was soon fixed) it was a fantastic set, and I can only hope Adaline returns to call Vancouver home soon enough.

Silent Player, Stereo, Keep Me High, Rebels of Love, That's What You Do Best, Say Goodbye, Wasted Time, Lovers Collide, The Noise.
(encore) Cost Is Too High, Sparks.

41st & Home CD Release Party w/ Aidan Knight, We Are The City & In Medias Res @ St James Hall -- 05/21/10

I have complained enough before about the heat and stuffiness that can arise at St James Hall, so I will dispense with that and just get onto the show itself.

Due to a myriad of reasons, partially my own failing, partially the universe conspiring against me, I got there a little late. I thought I had missed half of Aidan Knight's set, since there was supposed to be a 730 sharp start time, but I later found out I came in part way through the first song, so that was a relief! For his set there were nine people on stage; a couple of The O'Darlings, who are on his album Versicolour, as well as We Are The City. I was wondering how he would sound live, since his album can be pretty lush, and I was not disappointed. The last half of The Sun was fantastic, and the set just got better from there. Knitting Something Nice was another highlight, with the intensity building throughout the song, and Jasper was a great way to end the set. He had a pretty good stage presence as well, and even through his somewhat nervous banter, you could tell he was incredibly comfortable on stage. I can't wait until I have the chance to see him live again.
The Sun, [new song], North East South West, Altar Boys, Knitting Something Nice, Jasper.

Next up was We Are The City, and their set was way too short. It seemed just as they were getting started, they were done. Despite playing only a handful of songs, they were as energetic as ever. Even though this is the fifth time I've seen them in the last few months, they never fail to entertain and amaze. They played a few off of In A Quiet World, and the songs seem to be evolving slightly when played live. Nothing too drastic, just a few additions, which give the songs that much more of a kick. They also threw in a new one (which I am going to guess is called Morning Song) before ending, as they usually do, with Astronomers.
I'm glad they'll be playing the Biltmore in a few weeks, where hopefully they'll play a lot longer.
There Are Very Tiny Beasts In The Ground, There Are Very Very Big Lights in the Sky, April, Morning Song[?], Astronomers.

After them was 41st & Home, whose CD release party it was. They, too, packed the stage with members, and their rich sound interested me at first, though some of their songs seemed... not generic, but just lacked a kick. They were good, but nothing really caught my attention. Until their last two songs, which really grabbed me. Most of their songs seemed to start off slow or quiet, and build to a horn-filled ending, but those seemed had a grandiosity to them that I was was present in the rest of their set. If I wasn't incredibly broke, I would have no doubt picked up their CD, but I will be sure to keep an eye out for the next time they are playing.

Unfortunately, I had to bail at 11; I figured a show at St James would be done by then, due to the curfew, but In Medias Res was only just going on. I'm not really sure why they were going on last, since it was 41st & Home's CD release party, but oh well. From what I caught, they were not too bad, and while I may not go to a show with them headlining in the future, I wouldn't be adverse to seeing them live again.