My trips to this venue are few and far between, but every time I am here I wonder why that is. Not very many bands chose to take the stage at this magnificent location. With its high arching roof, retro detailing and perfect sound quality, you would hope more bands would be open to it. When you get the chance to see a live act here, there are a few rules that are more strictly enforced here than anywhere else in the lower mainland. One is the fact they say, no cell phones, no cameras or recording devices; this one, unlike at every other venue, is actually enforced . If you pull your camera out, or your phone rings, they may ask you to leave. The other one is the start times, the doors to the venue always open at 6:30 but the start time on your ticket is the actual show start time. Just thought I should mention this as it is important to know, and concert regulars should be aware.
The opening comedian for the night was Arj Barker, aka Dave on the Flight of the Conchords HBO housed sitcom. His brand of humor was everyday life based and it was relateable. This made for a great time and I found myself feeling very comfortable with his show. He comes across like a down to earth “stoner” type, and jokes mostly about current events and average-joe issues. The audience was right into it, and really ate up everything he said. As the crowd were Flight of the Conchord die hards, it wouldn’t have mattered if he had stood there for 45 minutes talking about euthanasia, people would have laughed regardlress. But he brought a great set and had many strange jokes that I am sure will be remembered by the audience.
The main act came out right away, Bret and Jemaine took the stage wearing robot heads. These were made from old cardboard boxes and really outlined what the next hour and a half would be like. The interaction and love from the group is felt almost instantly. There was a sense of pure modesty in their composure and almost like they were nervous on stage. The intimacy of this venue really brought the whole thing together and made for a great night. Between the inter-song banter and some stumbling through a few numbers, they seemed adorable unpolished but this added more to the overall love of the night then anything else. At one point Jemaine missed some words during one of his hip hop inspired sections in a song. This drove the crowd into applause, as made it feel like it was more real then just a regurgitated copy of every other night.
The lighting was really well done for this show, almost every song had a perfect accompaniment of lights to reflect the mood, style and overall feel. When you tie in lighting to a great show it can make the experience for average concert go-er. Too much light and it blinds the attendees, too little light and people literally lose focus. The washing effect they used with a small amount of stage fog filling the venue made for a mysterious feeling. Like I said all the lighting tied so well with the groups style it was the perfect marriage.
After the last song was played, the audience stood for a near 10 minutes of applause. The show was over but the memories will never be forgotten. Bret and Jemaine left the stage, humbly, and the masses began to filter out to the rainy streets of Vancouver. After the show, most people would rush the stage are to grab guitar picks and set lists, but looking around only one lady and I had stuck it out. We both ended up getting a set list (which is pictured below). This show was a great feel and I had waited a long time to finally see these lyrical magicians live. The show I would give a 4.5 out of 5 and the venue I would give a 5 out of 5. I am going to stop encouraging people after each show I see, to go out and see these amazing bands. My closing notes from now on are as follows:
The music industry is a strange beast these days, and support is such a small part to do with album purchases. If you like a band and really want to see more from them, get out and see their live shows. This is the best trade off for you and them. It encourages them to tour more, and when they do so they need to put there soul into every performance. The bands who don’t do that will fade away, and the bands who do will flourish. So if you really want to see your favorite bands pump out more music then the best way to accomplish that is to get your comrades together and see the bands you love, live on tour.
To all those concert addicts out there, Happy Concerting.
Flight of the Conchords pictures by Jamie Taylor (Click image to enlarge)
*edited for grammar and spelling on March 4th 2016