Fortune Sound Club hosted an evening of young and vibrant Canadian electronic artists to kick off the Seasons 2016 festival in Vancouver on Thursday. Bringing together Tennyson and Pomo – two acts not far from one another on the sonic spectrum – proved itself to be an evening of good vibes and immense talent.
First up was Tennyson, a brother-sister duo hailing from Edmonton, Alberta. Blending synth-pop and disco with an emphasis on syncopated rhythms, they’re not an act that takes kindly to pigeonholing. Give their EP a listen to understand how broad their inspiration and execution truly is. Tess (sister) handles the rhythm section on a electric drum kit that seems to never run a traditional/acoustic program; interesting to see someone hit the same symbol three times only to produce the sound of a cow bell, maraca, and chirping bird. Luke (brother) represents the vocals, keys, and various synth-elements for the pair. His right hand improvising melody on synth and his left manning the monome – cuing up various sound bites and media. His multitasking is intimidating for anyone remotely familiar with either instrument.
The crescendo of their performance occurred when Luke took to vocals on “Fault Line“; his voice sounding more refined than many veteran performers really solidified the Tennyson identity. Stating the obvious, Tennyson blew me away with their exceptional talent and humble stage presence. After a few sincere sentiments of gratitude, the pair left the stage to overwhelming applause.
Continuing the trend of Canadian electronica was Pomo (and friends). Pomo is Vancouverite David Pimenetel who has spent the last few years topping party-playlists and working with fellow Canadian Kaytranada to reinvigorate the dance music scene. On Thursday night, Pomo was joined on stage by a fellow keyboardist, guitarist, and drummer for a live instrumentation set for the very first time! His music has obvious disco roots with a directive to get the audience moving. Pomo bounced from keyboard to synth, orchestrating the group in spectacular fashion. Going through the hits “So Fine“, and “Cloud Cruise” seemed to entertain but not nearly as powerfully as having Tonye Aganaba join the ensemble to blow the crowd away with a rendition of Rock With You by Michael Jackson.
The highlight of the evening would have to be Pomo’s Mom and Dad rocking out in the crowd with that proud-parent look in their eyes’. You have to imagine his Dad saying “If I hadn’t played those M.J. records when you were a baby, would you be where you are now?”. Undeniable lowlight would be the dude trying to Periscope the entire concert on his cell phone; if your 4 followers truly cared about where you are right now, I think they’d be at the show.
The greatest aspect to urban festivals like Seasons, which takes place at the PNE, happens to be how alight with music Vancouver becomes. For fans who have only a few artists on the festival lineup that they’re interested in seeing, having these pre- and post-shows at venues around the city affords a more intimate and worthwhile concert experience. Fortunately for Vancouver, Levitation is only a few weeks away and we get to experience this phenomenon all over again. With NxNE struggling these days, could NxPNW come to be? I certainly hope so.