Sunday, November 14, 2004

Goldilocks and the Three Bands

Went last night to sample some more New Music West shows, this time at Voda. The first band was... too derivative. The second bad was... too... ummm... just not my style. But the third band was juuuuust right.

All three were actually very, very good. The first was Whitfield, a three-piece Brit-pop-style band. (Their website says they're looking for a lead guitarist, if anybody's interested.) Very talented, enjoyed it a lot, but they do wear their influences on their sleeve; they could understudy for Coldplay. When not sounding like Chris Martin, the lead singer's vocal style is very, very obviously influenced by Thom Yorke - and hey, there's nothing wrong with that, but you get the feeling he hasn't yet found his own voice. Maybe in time they'll grow into their own. Maybe they won't. We'll see. Either way, they were more than listenable, and I'd check them out again.

Second band was Welkin. Also very talented, but more of a stadium-rock style, a bit too big for the room. Their site says their major influence is I Mother Earth, who I don't know, but if you know them maybe that'll give you a better idea. More of a heavy/prog-rock sound than I like - but that's just me. If you like that style, you'll like Welkin, I expect; they were good musicians.

Oceanic was last up. Whenever I've gone out to see random local bands, I've always hoped that somebody would play something I could really get into; I am often bitterly disappointed. This time I actually found a band I could get excited about. Thoughtful, dynamic, textured, lovely music; guitar-and-sample based with pleasing bassline patterns. I'll definitely see them again sometime, and I highly recommend you give them a listen or go to a show.

They did a beautiful cover of The Verve's "Life's an Ocean" - accurate enough that you recognize the song, different enough that they gave it their own feel. They also had a projection screen with a nice atmospheric slideshow. I bought their EP, and it's very good, though I was surprised that it seems to have more of a "same-ness" about it than I thought they had live. Still, I don't mind, since it's more of a good thing and so on. They've really got some potential and I hope they get the backing they'll need to get where they want to go.

(The bassist had the most gorgeous bass, too; I think it was a Warwick but I'm not sure. I've seen them in the store but they look much better being played. And a wonderful warm rich sound. Yum.)

While I'm in the habit of recommending local music, I must point you to Marcus Martin's solo work at It's great to watch Marcus live - he records his guitar loops as he plays and continues over them, adding new elements here and there; the result is a much richer and more intricate sound than you'd expect from one man with a solo guitar, and he's got a wonderful pure voice that weaves throughout it all. Go listen to some tracks.

Finally, a l'il anecdote on the way the Web works these days. I spotted Stephen Hedley at the show last night, and stopped him to thank him for suggesting the bands at Voda that night. Turns out that between my last blog post on Friday afternoon and the concert on Saturday evening, he'd Googled his name to look for any reviews, and found my comments! Funny - it had occurred to me that people I mention here might eventually turn up these posts, but I didn't think it would happen that fast. The virtual and real worlds don't just occasionally collide the way they used to; they are now fully integrated. By way of thanks, he kindly gave me a copy of his EP - you can listen to samples of the tracks at his site here. It's wonderful rainy-Sunday-morning-with-a-cup-of-tea music. And there's a lot of rainy Sunday mornings in Vancouver, so you're obviously going to need this music.

That's a lot of listening homework I've assigned you. Better stop reading and get to it.


At 2:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suck and don't have broadband at home, but I'll check some of these guys out when I get a chance.

Conceptually, Marcus Martin reminds me of David Torn.



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