Tue, Mar 27
LO-FI-FNK at The Drake
While Swedish electro-pop duo Lo-Fi-Fnk 's Boylife disc wasn't instantly captivating, something about the bouncy bubblegum melodies kept it in the CD player all week, and it proved much more addictive than it seemed at first. Thankfully, this realization came in time to check out their show at the Drake , and it turns out the pair are even more charming in person.
In the flesh, they look young enough that what seemed ironic probably wasn't, and gay enough that some of the lyrical content takes on new meaning and loses some fluff.
Joined by a third Swede on electronic drums, the pair tore though a set drawn mainly from the album, and recreated that intimate, homemade quality fairly well. They still don't look fully comfortable onstage, but that's part of the appeal - if they were too slick they wouldn't be as cute.
Adorableness aside, Lo-Fi-Fnk's real appeal is how ridiculously catchy most of their songs are, which may make them much more accessible in the long run than most of the "new rave" acts they've been lumped in with.
Fri, Mar 30
ED BANGER at Mod Club
If you made it to the second coming of the Ed Banger Records party on Friday, chances are you're still walking around with a big goofy grin on your face.
This has to be hands down one of the best jams of the year. The French label's starting line of DJ Mehdi , Sebastian , Busy P and Justice put on an ego-less performance during which, instead of each artist doing a set, the crew tag-teamed, trading off between tracks for nearly four hours, all of it met hungrily by the wild sold-out mob of sweaty, first-pumping indie kids in their American Apparel tights and neon-pink, straight-brim hats.
The strong vibe could be attributed to the fact that the EB crew literally partied with the crowd, high-fiving the front row, crowd-surfing and passing the mic around for hype work while one member helmed the decks, blasting heavy electro remixes through the Mod Club 's impressive system. And, yes, glow sticks were very much present. If this is the new rave scene, we say bring it.
MICHAEL WESTON KING with KELLY JOE PHELPS at Hugh's Room
The crowd that came to see the bluesy puttering of Kelly Joe Phelps at Hugh's Room didn't seem to care that Michael Weston King 's songs were much better written and performed more passionately, even if King happened to take the stage first. During the most harrowing moments of King's black 'n' blue breakup tunes, many people there for the headliner carried on as though reserving a table gave them the right to natter loudly through the opener's set. The shushing by annoyed patrons added to the distraction, but to his credit, King played it cool.
Instead of demanding silence or lecturing the crowd on proper concert-going etiquette when the noise became intrusive, he cleverly pulled away from the mic and sang to those willing to listen. In a matter of seconds the crowd fell silent and he completed his set to roaring applause - earned not only by his exceptional tunes but also by the skilful crowd control you only see from a seasoned folk entertainer.
Sat, Mar 31
LADYHAWK with the CONSTANTINES and JON-RAE & THE RIVER at Lee's Palace
If neither the affectingly tattered tunes on their latest Tournament Of Hearts disc nor the fact that their Horsey Craze side project is a flat-out tribute to the man are enough to convince you that the Constantines have a hard-on for Neil Young, their choice of East Van hairies Ladyhawk to warm up Lee's Palace Saturday should be adequate confirmation.
Propelled by the slightly whiny, brash bellow of flailing frontman Duffy Driediger , the sometime Black Mountain tourmates bashed through a set of ragged-ass, bluesy roots rock that, when it worked, sounded like Crazy Horse clouded by a fog of wicked BC bud. But though Driediger and follicularly endowed guitarist Darcy Hancock were clearly feelin' it, dude - the latter put his locks to work bangin' in sync with his power chords - the quartet's macho boogie often veered toward a dull middle ground of generic beer rock that felt like a soundtrack to watching hockey in an Edmonton bar. When Ladyhawk hit extremes, be it full-on near-metal riffs that recall the best of tight, hard 70s heavy rock or Driediger's surprisingly sweet vocals on a softer ballad, they're great.
But their classic rock revisioning often frequently felt weak, especially compared to the Cons' tremendous rock 'n' soul assault later in the night.
Sun, Apr 1
RIFF RANDELLS at White Orchid
If Riff Randell , the fictional Ramones groupie in Rock 'N' Roll High School, spent more time ripping off Joey's music instead of stalking him, her band would sound exactly like the Vancouver trio now immortalizing her name.
Led by the diminutive Kathy Camaro and flanked by horned-rimmed-glasses-wearing drummer Anne-Marie and bassist Bianca , the girls started off on choppy waters with swells of feedback in the boiling White Orchid basement, then quickly settled into a smooth flow of "1-2-3-4, let's go" punk 'n' roll delivered to a small but appreciative Sunday-night clan.
Their songs - mostly about boys, crushes and parties - are about as substantial as Baskin Robbins for dinner, but thankfully less sugary. In between screeching notes, missed chords and breathless vocals, Camaro sang about telling guys off, crashing their stupid parties, then leaving them in the dust - which, if you remember the movie, was Riff Randell's MO to a tee.