COMMODORE BALLROOM, MARCH 21, 2014
Starting off a jam-packed night of bands belonging to very different genres, Vancouver-based JPNSGRLS’ short set consisted of choppy post-punk melodies, copious energy levels, and the band’s front man wailing into a microphone while awkwardly filming the band’s closing song with an iPhone.
While innovative and a complete change-up from the first opening band, Halifax-born pop artist Rich Aucoin’s pre-song introduction was seemingly endless — the garbled reel of viral YouTube videos, clips of Alan Watts’ “If Money Were No Object,” and strings of his own corny lines (“B.C.’s been amazing since B.C.”) failed to ignite the venue’s waiting audience. Thankfully, a slew of high-energy antics – from jumping up on speakers to throwing a giant rainbow parachute to his fans – and renditions of Aucoin’s self-affirming songs like “It” and “We’re All Dying to Live” saved the show. Aucoin was minus one shirt and dripping sweat by the end of the hour, indicating an A+ effort on his part and a set that was, in retrospect, moderately entertaining.
Composed of Hot Hot Heat’s Steve Bays (and his miraculous, curly locks), Limblifter’s Ryan Dahle, and multi-instrumentalist Hawksley Workman, Mounties is an indie super-trio of polished, professional musicians – and it oozes through in their live performance. Joined by an extra bassist and a percussionist, the band played nearly every tune from their debut album Thrash Rock Legacy. “Made Up My Mind” began as a rollicking, light jam that soon had Bays down on his knees darkly croon to fans with hazy harmonies to back him, while the anthem “Headphones” morphed into an unstoppable beast willed to life by a crowd who refused to let the last two lines of the song fade away. As expected, Mounties rocked the night, which is remarkable considering that their Vancouver tour stop was only the band’s fourth show together.
By Kristina Charania
Photo by Ashley Sandhu