Mike Edel started off the night with a set that was stripped down compared to what I was used to seeing from him. The theme of the night seemed to be “keep it simple” and Edel was joined by only three other musicians covering guitar/banjo, violin, and percussion. The short set contained the staples of “Two Of Us”, “Bottom Floor Apartment”, and “The Country Where I Came From”. Edel and company were fantastic as always.

The Archers were up next. They had the most elaborate set up of the evening with piano, guitar, bass, ukulele, cajone, bells, and a tiny bit of trumpet. I saw this young group at Rifflandia back in September, and while they were great back then they acted like seasoned pros now. The standout song for me was the opener “The Sun Will Rise”. (The song can be heard/bought on the band’s Bandcamp page.)  You can catch the Archers with Fir Cone and Steph Macpherson when they play my hometown of Sidney BC on April 21st 2012.

I admit: I didn’t do my homework before this show. I had no idea what to expect from Steven Page this night. Would he play alone or with a band? Would he focus on his new solo material? Would he play the old BNL favourites? If past experience has taught me anything, it’s that this is exactly how I should go into a concert. Things always seem to turn out great when I do this. This show was no exception.

Page was joined by Craig Northey of the Odds with Page on acoustic guitar and Northey switching between acoustic and electric for the night. The set started with Northey alone on stage playing one of his songs with Page making his entrance on melodica halfway through the song. From there the duo launched into a version of “Alternative Girlfriend” that made its way through “Someone Who’s Cool” before closing out where they started. (Confession: as soon as I learned that Craig Northey was playing that night I wanted to request “Someone Who’s Cool”, it’s one of my all time favourite songs. I’m so glad they played it, and that it came so early in the set too so I didn’t have to be one of those jerks who shout requests for songs not written by the headlining artist.) The remainder of the evening weaved its way through old Barenaked Ladies songs, new songs from Page’s solo albums, and a couple of songs written by Northey and the Odds. The duo received a few standing ovations that night, one came right after doing a song without the use of microphones. That is always such an amazing thing to hear done at the Alix Goolden Hall. The night finished with another one of my all time favourites, “Brian Wilson”.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that this show will be one of the best I’ll see in 2012. If that prediction is wrong, I’m fine with that because it means I have an incredibly amazing year of music ahead of me. More pictures from the night are posted on the EhBSeasides Flickr page here.

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