Cold Specks – The Imperial – November 25, 2014

A surprising, sort of last-minute jaunt out to see the lovely Cold Specks in Vancouver a few nights ago. While scrolling through the almighty Facebook newsfeed the day before this show, I noticed a post by a friend of mine, who I know from a band you should all listen to immediately – Wintersleep – of his and a WS bandmate’s descent into Seattle to play in this group called Cold Specks. In short order, me and my camera were invited out to a show the following night in Vancouver (Thanks, Tim!). I feel that I may have heard mention of Cold Specks in passing but had no idea folks I knew were part of the touring group, and really hadn’t listened to the music before. It’s quite beautiful. A heck of a voice sashaying throughout songs that are all over the map – upbeat and toe-tappy one moment, soulful and melancholy the next. It was a wonderful surprise made even greater by seeing some old friends I hadn’t seen in ages.

The show was at the Imperial, an impressive room and one of the city’s newest live music venues (though it looks like it can be transformed into just about anything). A respectful (read: disturbingly quiet) but healthy audience was in attendance – not too shabby for a Monday night in Vancouver just off our least-inviting Downtown Eastside corner. I got there just in time to see the waning moments of local openers We Are the City and greet my friends before they hit the stage. Cold Specks is essentially vocalist Al Spx. Check out some interviews or something. She has a darn impressive history just over the last handful of years. Her live band consists of a couple of British imports, and the aforementioned Wintersleep imports, and these guys lend endless layers of interesting instrumentation to the songs when it’s not a simple a capella number. Post show over a glass of wine and some bottles of IPA that no one could stand, a little chit chat revealed affable and mellow characters (and unearthed a startling  full-circle connection to one of those bird bands I can never shut my trap about, Guillemots. What?!). Load out revealed the big difference between us hardened and/or jaded Vancouverites (myself, another friend, and a couple of venue guys) and those who aren’t so used to seeing used needles and human poop in the alleyways (everyone else), and then it was off to find a bar that was still serving after midnight on a Monday. After that, they were off to the winter wonderland of Jasper, only to get stuck in the snow. How Canadian. Everybody was super cool beans and on top of a grand new musical discovery for me, made for a killer night. So thanks, Cold Specks. You are going so many more places.

Find out more about Cold Specks: http://www.coldspecks.com

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