Tag Archives: 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Stars and Hey Rosetta! Feb 19 @ Orpheum

Stars make great bedroom music

For anyone who’s listened to Stars’ 2004 album Set Yourself On Fire, it’s hard not to shed a tear for their beautiful, eloquent and heart-breaking indie pop. After a week in the craziness of the Olympic cultural hullabaloo, this show was like a much-needed sedative that lulled the attendees into a peaceful, thoughtful musical reverie—though not entirely replete in energy—with frontman Torquil Campbell balancing the melancholy with humour and frequent curse words.

Hey Rosetta! took the stage just as someone in the crowd screamed out “You are so cute,” an arguable reference to vocalist Tim Baker’s irresistible smirk. The band, originally from St. John’s, has progressed tremendously from their garage-rock sound to their performance which was lush and complex. Layered with Romesh Thavanathan’s cello and Erin Aurich’s violin, the string section added a sultry, soulful dimension to their indie rock trademark sound.

Stars’ performance, on the other hand, was something rather cathartic, as Amy Millan’s velvet voice can often inspire. Playing mostly from their 2004 singles, they sparked up the show with “Set Yourself on Fire,” then quickly went into “What I’m Trying To Say,” now the anthems for any romantic break up. Campbell, as the son of the two Shakespearean actors, waved his right hand quite a bit, which gave the lyrics a more dramatic, soliloquy-type quality. Between songs, he advised that if anybody shook his hand on the street, that they fail their drug test. Then seeming visibly embarrassed, Campbell quickly said “Don’t do drugs” in a way that was both cute and a complete lie.

The Montreal-based group indulged fans with a few new songs from their upcoming album. “Open” followed the Stars formula in that it was upbeat and catchy, but had less vocal harmonies in it. “Dead Hearts” was a spooky, lullaby-sounding tune that alluded to dead children Millan once knew. After three encores, the group finished off their set with “One More Night,” which Campbell said was about “fucking someone to death.”

Taking place at Vancouver’s historical Orpheum Theatre, a seated opera house with velvet cushions in the lobby and bartenders who called you “madame,” the show was certainly the best edition of the Cultural Olympiad to date.

CODE fest is code for shmoozefest

for Exclaim!

Upon hearing that LA Riots, the Golden Filter and a special DJ set from Junior Boys were set to play together, who would expect that it could be a disappointment? With less than a week to go before the 2010 Olympic games begin, the Vancouver live music scene has exploded with musicians from all over in collaborative musical mischief, but Saturday’s show proved to be a less-than-perfect operation.

Taking place at Great Northern Way campus, a technology school located in the heart of Vancouver’s industrial playground, the sense of estranged abandonment carried through in the performances. Waiting in line for half an hour to get a drink, I caught Jeremy Greenspan’s set, only at the end of his performance, and it sounded nothing like Junior Boys. Instead of an expected synth-funkiness, the venue throbbed with a sexed-up, generic clubsound you’d expect to find everywhere else on a Saturday night.

In its defense, the Golden Filter put out a mad decent performance. Vocalist Penelope Trappes was alluring and thought provoking , and the blonde bombshell dressed in a way that reminded us of the best of the 1980s. Quirky and intelligent, their upcoming album Völupsá is based on the Nordic poem about the creation and impending end of the world. Full of energy and electro-eccentricity, the Golden Filter was by far the standout performance of the evening.

This concert was part of a series called the Cultural Olympiad’s Digital Edition (CODE). Originally intended as a means of showcasing Canada’s talented DJ culture, the event itself was more of a shmoozefest than an actual concert experience. Here’s hoping the next CODE event will be times better spent.

Here’s the teaser for the Golden Filter’s new album. It looks really good.

Deadmau5 to play a free concert in Vancouver!

As many anti-Olympic Vancouverites feel the clock ticking before the games hit the fan, there’s some goodness to look forward to.

Canadian superstar DJ Deadmau5 (a.k.a. Joel Zimmerman) will be playing a free show on Feb. 19 at LiveCity Yaletown. Info is here. I’m going to be there harder and faster than any of you could imagine. Oh yes.

Check out the video for “I Remember,” a collaborative track with Kaskade, another notable talent in the pop dance music scene.