The Matinée @ Fox Cabaret -- 08/10/17

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On a Thursday night, people packed into a (thankfully air conditioned) Fox Cabaret to celebrate not only the new album from The Matinée, but also the band's ten year anniversary. In fact, they mentioned their very first photoshoot was in that same room, back when it was the Fox Cinema and, well, let’s just say it was 19+ for very different reasons.

Unfortunately I missed the first act of the night, Emily Rowed, arriving shortly before The Wild Romantics. They played a set of mostly new, unreleased songs, I believe, starting with a sultry tune and gradually turning the energy up throughout the set. Songs like "Someone Else’s Smile" and "You’re My Whiskey" were on the sweeter side, as couple Aleisha Kalina and Evan Miller sang together, sometimes into a single mic, their chemistry off the charts. Throughout the set, things got progressively more rockin', culminating with the raucous “Fist Fight” and the fittingly titled, “Last Call” to finish off. Hopefully the new music means they have a new album coming out down the line, because I'm definitely looking forward to hearing it. 

After some between-set music clearly chosen by the band, The Matinée took the stage, singer Matt Layzell, Matt Rose & Geoff Petrie on guitars, and drummer Peter Lemon joined by Georges Couling on keys and Marcus Abramzik on bass. They started off with a couple old favourite, "Sweet Water" getting the crowd to stomp, clap, and sing along -- not for the last time that night -- and one of my personal faves "L'Absinthe", before going into their new album, with the title track "Dancing On Your Grave". 
They gave off a great energy, each member clearly having an absolute blast on stage (you can always tell a band member is into it when they are singing along nowhere near a microphone) and that energy definitely infected the crowd. It also helps that they're all fantastic musicians, with Matt Layzell as charismatic a frontman as you'll find. But he also knows when to melt into the back and let the spotlight shine on other members of the band; evidenced when he literally pushed Marcus front and centre.
Highlights from the set included "Figure It Out" which features Emily Rowed come back on stage for guest vocals; my favourite from the new album, "Fireworks" which builds to an appropriately explosive ending; "Show Me" which saw Geoff & the two Matts crowded around the mic to sing softly; as well as a heartfelt cover of The Hip's "Grace Too". 
They brought the main set to an end with the last song from the album, “Heart Still Works” and feigning an encore break, but then Matt Rose saying the whole thing is silly and they were just going to keep going. He and Layzell then played the first song they ever wrote together, an acoustic ballad called “Red Wine and Whiskey” before ending with a bang: first the incredibly infectious “The Road” and finally -- with a little bit of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” slipped into the middle of it -- the perennial summer jam “Young & Lazy” to cap off their 10 year celebration.

And here’s to hoping for (at least) another 10 more. 

setlist
Sweetwater
L'Absinthe
Daning On Your Grave
Sweet Thing
Figure It Out
Fireworks
Show Me
Grace Too
Long Gone
Let Her Go
Blood Alley
Heart Still Works
(encore)
Red Wine & Whiskey
The Road
Young & Lazy

Cobra Ramone with Miss Quincy & The Showdown and The Wild Romantics @ The Waldorf -- 03/03/17

It's been quite a while since the last time I saw live music at the Waldorf. Since the old promoters had a little trouble with the rent a few years ago, I believe they've only been doing DJ/dance party nights. But what a way to return, with three of the city's most badass bands together on one bill. (And, I don't think I can state enough how much I liked the poster)

Starting off the night was The Wild Romantics who kicked things off with a sultry number, then cranked up the rock, living up to both the 'wild' and 'romantic' parts of their name.
The couple of Aleisha Kalina & Evan Miller, splitting vocal duties, have a great chemistry on stage, playing off each other and getting in each others faces all throughout the set. They played a number of new songs, but included some familiar like the chilled out "Memphis TN", and ended off with a great pair, an incendiary new song called "Heart Attack" and the raucous "Fist Fight". 

Next up was Miss Quincy & The Showdown, Jody Peck on guitar joined by Jen Foster on drums & Jessie Robertson on bass. With their blues-tinged rock, Jody's voice went from a raw growl to soaring, sometimes in the same song. Highlights included the sexy bass groove of "Making Money", and a new one, half-jokingly introduced as they first song that is neither a sad song nor a drinking song. 
After the heartbreaking "Remind Me of Myself", they cranked the dial back up with "Wild Fucking West" and the seductive "Bad Love", before their kickass cover of Peaches' "Boys Wanna Be Her" to end things off. They're always an energetic & fun to watch band live, and this night was no different. 

And finally, wrapping up the night was Cobra Ramone (who, along with Evan, was celebrating her birthday that evening). She was joined by Trevor Snakedust on keys and the non-serpentine-named Pat Steward on drums for some straight up, boot-to-the-chest rock songs.
Cobra Ramone has a captivating stage presence, her powerful voice filling the room, with songs about breakup sex, another she introduced as written in prison, the frantic "Bang Bang", and the venomous "She Don't Know". Ramone also teased new material, including one I really liked but didn't catch the name of. 
The set came to a close with "I'm A Mess", starting low and intense before building & erupting into a bonkers climax, the perfect ending for a set. But then, after that, I witnessed one of the rarest things in live music: a legitimate encore. They had left the stage and the house music came back up, but there was still a pocket of people chanting "Cobra! Cobra!" so Ramone & the band came back out and rocked out one more song. 

Each of these three bands can put on a hell of a show, and it was a nice night in East Van to see them all share the stage.