The setting sun shone through the windows of Upstairs Cabaret, catching the dust in the air and seemingly reminding the few of us who had arrived early for Noah Edwards solo set that it was indeed summer. It seems while the sun is still shining, people would rather be outside drinking on a patio or beach than in a dark nightclub watching great live music.
Despite the dance floor being pretty much made up of only photographers and band members, Noah Edwards fought onward. Using a loop pedal, his powerful voice, and a guitar, Noah debuted new material from his upcoming album, due out this fall. Unfortunately, just as he seemed to draw in more people from outside the club, his set was cut short to five songs.
This was a trend throughout the night, unfortunately. Sets cut short to make way for the bar stars and club nights. Early shows are a blessing and a curse. You can be home before midnight, but it also means shorter sets from the bands you love.
Ethan Caleb and his band Morning Show took the stage with a new and frantic energy, obviously riding high after their most recent tour and excited to share some new music with their hometown crowd. This was, hands down, one of the most energetic sets we’ve seen from the band. Stage banter was kept to a minimum as Morning Show seemed to rush from song to song, but still didn’t get to play their full set.
Nanaimo’s Gold & Shadow returned to Victoria for the first time since January’s YYJ Rocktographers Showcase at Fort Tectoria . . . this time, to kick off their Western Canadian tour in support of their recently released EP, Birdhaus.
As soon as the band kicked into Dimensions off their new EP, it was clear we were in for a fun evening Upstairs. Full of smiles and working off each other on stage, the room felt charged. Like that feeling in the air right before an electrical storm. Waiting for that satisfying first crack of lighting.
It’s clear that this is a band that loves what they do and have fun performing live. They make you well aware of that fact with their stage presence. The band is jumping around more than they are hiding behind microphones. There is a rarely a moment when any member of the band isn’t in motion.
Gold & Shadow is a band that isn’t afraid to throw a cover or two into their set, and most of the time blow the original out of the water (Sorry, Half Moon Run). Their cover of Radiohead’s 15 Step saw Dane Letourneau, Jesse Janzen, and Jordan Lineker taking turns on vocals and throwing themselves about the stage. Later, Jordan would put down his guitar and wrap himself in mic cables to sing a smokey rendition of Dan Mangan’s Forgetery.
Toward the end of their set, the band invited Camilla Arnold up to lend her light and sweet voice for the song Lifegiver. The ballad that marks final track on Birdhaus, which she also lends her voice to.
After the show, bass player and vocalist Jesse Janzen asked how the new material off Birdhaus translated live and it was hard tot give him a straight answer. They are two very different beasts. Songs like Judges (which they didn’t get to play live because their set got cut two songs short) are layer with subtle and intricate soundscapes which might get lost in the band’s dynamic live performances.
If you haven’t seen Gold & Shadow live, you are missing out on one of the best live bands out there.