Well I guess it’s better late than never to get this up:

Though most of this week has been spent doing my listening homework for the Vancouver Folk Fest, I somehow managed to cram in a few shows last weekend. First up was the CD release party for Versa at the beautiful Alix Goolden Hall. Showing a bit of bad etiquette on my part, I ended up missing the first two openers and arrived just in time to catch a set by Les Monstres Terribles.

Les Monstres Terribles

In full disclosure, I’m friends with one of the members (heck I went to his wedding even) and I’ve had a drink or two with a few of the other members in the group. Don’t let my positive bias toward this band dissuade you though, back in March Les Monstres Terribles were voted the Most Welcome Addition to the Arts Scene at this year’s Monday Magazine M Awards.

The band pulled out all the stops for their first show at the Alix Goolden Hall. While the group normally consists of five core members, this set was backed by the Playing Dead Orchestra which consisted of a keyboardist, a brass section, a string section, and even a choir. The entire group of 15 or so musicians were decked out in black and white duds with white masks. Though the outfits were borderline gimmicky, the group looked pretty sharp all together.

Versa

After a quick intermission Versa took the stage. The whole evening was to celebrate the release of their sophomore album The Decline and Fall of…, which was included for free in the modest $10 admission. In all honesty I hadn’t heard of them prior to last week, but when I got a message from the fine folks at Ditch Records saying they had tickets to give away I entered my name into the draw on a whim. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I was one of the lucky winners, and more so when I discovered that Versa plays some pretty awesome music to boot. Without the slightest bit of exaggeration, I’m really tempted to say that they are one of my great musical finds this year. Though the dark lighting in the hall didn’t bode well for my photos, it set the perfect mood for the largely instrumental set that Versa unleashed on us. One highlight of the show for me was the encore performance of LCD Soundsystem’s hit All My Friends. The band invited all the other musicians on the bill as well as any audience members so inclined to join them on stage. The result was an amazing stage party of controlled chaos.

You can next see Les Monstres Terribles at the Solstice Cafe on Tuesday August 3rd (event details). Keep your eyes peeled for new shows from Versa to be announced soon. The full collection of photos from the evening can be found can be found on the EhBSeasides Flickr page here.

Right after the Versa CD release party I ran over to Sugar Nightclub to catch the Victoria stop of the Malahat Revue, which combined the musical forces of Jeremy Fisher, Said the Whale, Hannah Georgas, and Aidan Knight. As what happens all too often at Sugar, the crowd that night was extremely rowdy. For some reason Said the Whale really brings out the drunk talkative types in Victoria. The girl behind me decided to scream to her friends throughout every single Hannah Georgas song. To the group’s credit they kept the set full of upbeat tunes that kept the crowd under control by jumping and singing along.

the Malahat Revue

On Sunday night I made the trip to Duncan to catch the Malahat Revue stop at the Duncan Garage Showroom. The vibe in Duncan was the total opposite of Victoria. The sold out crowd was so appreciative for the visit from the group. The night was broken up into two sets that rotated through songs from the catalogs of the four groups. When the second set wrapped up with Aidan Knight’s Jasper, the crowd leaped to their feet to dance and sing. The musicians were enthusiastically called back for an encore of a few more songs. The whole evening wrapped up with an unplugged unamplified rendition of Said the Whale’s Curse of the Currents. Even though I’ve seen Said the Whale a few times now, this was the first time I have heard Curse of the Currents live. It was perfect. I know that I wasn’t the only one in the audience with tears in my eyes by the end of that song.

The Duncan Garage Showroom provides a live video stream for all of their shows, so even if you are not planning a trip to Duncan any time soon you should definitely check out their webpage. While you do so, you can find the link for the archived stream of the Malahat Revue here.

There was a photography ban at the Victoria stop of the Malahat Revue, but you can check out the Flickr set from the Duncan show here.

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