It’s been a crazy summer. So crazy I no longer live in Vancouver. Amanda and I have returned to Sydney, Australia for the foreseeable future…more on that later I suppose as the show reviews roll in.
But before we left Vancouver we managed to see some shows this summer. First up, we saw Florence + The Machine and The Walkmen at Deer Lake Park back in July. Amanda is a pretty big fan of Florence so this was a show that was definitely her bag. I went along knowing I’d at least get to see The Walkmen in support (and I swear I’ve seen them open for about 50 bands over the years). They played quite a bit of stuff off their pretty decent new record, Heaven. But, as always, the set highlight was a blistering version of The Rat.
We Can’t Be Beat
The Love You Love
Woe Is Me
Blue As Your Blood
Love Is Luck
All Hands And The Cook
And in one of those No Expectations = Pleasant Surprises situations, Florence + The Machine actually put on a pretty solid show. The music isn’t really my thing but Florence Welch GIVES it on stage. I really wasn’t expecting to see her gallivanting all over the place while belting out those songs. But she did. And her voice was pretty spectacular. Extra bonus points for the rain holding out for the entire gig…really thought we were going to get soaked at this one.
On August 8 we headed down to Seattle to see Sigur Rós at the wonderful Paramount Theater. I had been there once before to see Oasis back in (I believe) 2000, so it was a long time between visits. But it really is a beautiful venue.
Sigur Rós were spectacular as always. Prior to the gig I was wondering just how they were going to tackle Valtari live since the album is quite ambient and meandering (even by Sigur Rós standards). Turns out they’re handling it by playing very little of it. I was probably one of the few disappointed by the band playing just three new songs; I really would have liked to have seen them tackle a couple more (especially Valtari‘s opening track Ég Anda).
However, any disappointment with that was largely quashed by an incredibly powerful show full of some of the band’s most potent live songs. The band (sadly minus keyboardist/genius Kjartan for their 2012 tour) were accompanied by an extra guitarist and keyboardist plus strings and horns which gave every song details and ferocity that might have been lacking a bit on their 2008 tour as a quartet. I had avoided all setlists prior to the show so my mind was pretty blown when they dropped Í Gær in the set. I’ve always loved this song which had been played regularly in 2001 (though not at the show I saw) but not much since.
I’ve seen Sigur Rós quite a few times over the past ten years but this show was memorable even by their extremely high standards.
Viðrar vel til Loftárása
My Last Show In Vancouver was kind of a perfect Last Show In Vancouver. It was late August, it was a beautiful day, and the show took place in the parking lot of the Waldorf. It really was a fitting way to end summer. And the fact that the lineup offered some of Vancouver’s finest bands just made it all the better.
Basketball were the first band I caught and they were much better than when I last saw them opening for Japandroids back in 2009. They seemed a lot more focused and together and they really don’t sound like many other bands out there at the moment – and that is always appreciated. Next up were Ladyhawk and they did their thing pretty damn well (their thing = being a great, gritty bar band). Some of the new songs sounded pretty solid and I’m looking forward to the new album. Take a listen to You Read My Mind from the new album No Can Do out in just over a week’s time.
But the main reason that my last Vancouver gig (for now!) was so great was the mighty behemoth that is Black Mountain. Giant riffs, proggy keyboards, and epic beards/hair, Black Mountain really are best experienced live and last month’s show was a perfect example. With the exception of Japandroids, I’m not sure I’d want any other Vancouver band sending me on my way to Australia. So thanks for kicking ass, Black Mountain.
Buried By The Blues
Queens Will Play
Don’t Run Our Hearts Around
Let Spirits Ride
Black Mountain – Mary Lou
So now A Reminder is back in Sydney where this little blog got started. And in the coming months Radiohead, Spiritualized, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor are all coming this way…so lots to look forward to.