Mad weekend of local madness continued! I didn’t think I was going to make it to this gig tonight, figuring it was going to run over other plans, but while sitting around at home working on whatever (probably trying to sort out this blog, actually), I noticed a critical Facebook update for this show proclaiming, ‘It’s an early show! Don’t come here at 10:30 expecting music, it will all be done by then!’ Zounds! It was about 7:20pm when I saw this… and somehow I managed to shower, change, get my gear together, and boogie down to Electric Owl in time to catch a couple songs of the ultra-loud cats in Phoenix Thunderbird. It wasn’t really enough time to absorb much and the set was strobe-lit and dark, but I fired off a couple shots of the action from the back of the room, including the first of many of Sex With Strangers’ Hatch Benedict’s appearances on stage.
So who knows if people were still recovering from the night before (There were more than a few repeat faces here tonight from the previous evening’s ACTORS show) or just didn’t get the ‘early show’ memo, but the crowd slowly trickled in through the evening, culminating in a pretty good-looking room by the end of the night. As The Ludvico Treatment prepared to go on stage though, the standard hang-backy crowd created a bit of a gulf on the dance floor for a start. As the band warmed up though, the gaps started to get filled in, particularly when the band started chucking a couple t-shirts and CDs out into the crowd. This set was an annual homecoming/reunion kind of gig in Vancouver and was suitably populated with lots of friends.
Keeping it all in the family, bits of Sex With Strangers appeared on stage to top off the set with a live rendition or a remix of one of their songs – sounds like it was an experiment, but goshdarn they pulled it off.
Lickety-split change, on with Sex With Strangers. A shy crowd has not a chance once Benedict takes the stage and starts coercing people forward. It’s been a darn long time since I have seen SWS play, and the last time, at a late-night, whisky-fueled New Music West showcase at the Penthouse, the spirit of the group was really different. Two dudes, great music, loads of potential. Fast forward to the last couple years and this is now a full-fledged band with a ton of charisma and a grab-hold, shake-you-to-the-floor stage presence. The whisky-fuellage remains. These kids are having a good time up there. A diamond-bright dimension to the music is undeniably added by Alexis Young, alternately dancing away behind a set of keyboards, or whirling across the stage in a flurry of blonde locks and tambourines.
The core of the room migrated a few blocks across town to finish off the night with vinyl, dancing, weird photo sessions and general mayhem at the Save On Meats diner. Plenty of friendly new faces for this girl diving headfirst back into the fray. Cheers and beers to all the hosts, musicians, party people, bartenders and friends old and new – this perks up the gloom of the average Vancouver February.
As discussed in the intro ramble, I have been wrestling with this here blog all day now, and granted, my writing brain is shutting down, plus I approached the shows this weekend more from an ‘attend and enjoy’ standpoint than a ‘pay attention and write about it, you fool’ standpoint. But screw it, enjoy the photos.