Victoria has been waiting a very long time for Ontario’s The Balconies to return to our vibrant music scene. Now with their powerhouse of a record (Rhonda) out, they headed back to the island to take what is rightfully theirs.
Invading the stage for the early night at Upstairs Cabaret was Victoria based electro indie pop act, Germany Germany. The now four-piece has evolved from the solo DJ act of Bandcamp engineer Drew Harris. With a full band, Drew and company explore his creations deeper and often lean into Foals-esqe math rock rhythms and jam sessions.
Germany Germany’s recorded songs are reminiscent of early instrumentals from Broken Social Scene, Washed Out, Bella, and that occasional guitar twang from late ’90s British Invasion . . . but in a danceable way. Their live show leans hard on their ’80s electronic keyboard sounds which is more often then not compared to the Netflix series Stranger Things, but that probably has more to do with the faerie lights on stage.
It was a real struggle to take pictures of Germany Germany, with most of the photographers giving up after a song or two. The band was enveloped in the absence of light and only illuminated by the synced up faerie lights they had strewn around the stage. So here is a Stranger Things still that sort of gives you a idea of what the stage was like.
It’s been a hell of a long time since The Balconies have been back to Victoria, and for those of us who knew about the poorly promoted show, they didn’t disappoint.
The lighting only marginally got better from Germany Germany’s set when The Balconies took the stage. By that, I mean they were visible and sometimes your camera would grab focus on one of the band members. Needless to say, there were some very sad Rocktographers who thought that they might capture an epic shot for our upcoming 2017 showcase. It didn’t get much better throughout the evening despite everyone quietly grumbling to themselves.
Despite the crummy lighting, The Balconies shone through with a set that favoured heavily from their self-produced album, Rhonda. With songs like War, Rhonda, and their bonecrushing single Money Money. Which featured some huge hair flips from the almost possessed looking lead songstress Jacquie Neville. It was like she’d summoned the dark witch side of Stevie Nicks for her performance that night.
At 10:35, the band ended on a powerful note with Jacquie even jumping the barrier and into the crowd to sing with the final bars of Guilty Pleasures with the audience, leaving us all begging for more. But, Upstairs Cabaret had a different idea by instantly blasting club music, urging the band to pack up their gear, and pushing their fans out the door. One could only speculate what they had up their sleeves for an encore.
The Balconies would be a hit during the summer’s festival season out here in Victoria, but let’s hope they make it back here before then.