Saturday, April 14, 2012

May Concert Highlights

May is looking good for shows in Vancouver this year. Hold the iPhone...May is always good for live music in Vancouver! I have selected a diverse trio of bands below: Brooklyn beach pop, a Finnish string quartet, and video game music about abortions and sexual angst. Hmmm, maybe my taste in music isn't so hot afterall.

The Drums - Venue - May 8

Though my sister and I are both avid music-listeners and like many of the same groups, my tastes are a bit melancholic when compared to hers. She has recommended a lot of groups to me - such as The Ting Tings, White Lies, and The Joy Formidable - that I have come to like over time, after adjusting to their poppy patinas. This same thing happened with The Drums. My very first exposure to them was the video for Let's Go Surfing and I hated the hollow hipness of both the song and appearance of the band members. I didn't give them another shot for a year or so after hearing this simple and repetitive throw-back to Sixties surf rock, but the band has grown since 2010 and can produce a catchy song. They are not amazing, and I would never buy one of their albums with real money, but this will be a fun and affordable live show. 

Apocalyptica - Commodore - May 22

Who wouldn't want to see a four-piece string quartet from Finland that specializes in instrumental covers of American heavy metal songs? I first heard Apocalyptica while using the 8tracks website to generate some background music while sorting through 6,000 cellulose acetate negatives at Touchstones Nelson. Not only are Mikko, Perttu, Paavo, and Eicca awesome cellists, their music has an edge...and edge that is not initially evident if you are not paying close attention to the tunes. There I was, appraising my fonds, enjoying the classical music emanating from my super-average Logitech computer speakers, when I realised that I was humming along to Enter Sandman. Double-you-tee-eff?

Xiu Xiu - The Biltmore - May 28 

Despite harbouring a strong dislike of Xiu Xiu's frontman, Jamie Stewart, and being thoroughly disturbed by their 'Dear God, I Hate Myself' video (seriously, don't watch it unless you have a vomit that a thing?), I must admit that I am intrigued by this act. I wouldn't say that I  "enjoy" the music of Xiu Xiu, but novelty has the power to engage, so this will likely be an entertaining live show. Part art rock and part synth masturbation, Xiu Xiu creates music that often juxtaposes playful melodies with dark lyrics. Stewart has an effective delivery, but he doesn't have much range, so I find myself getting bored with his baritone weirdness after a few songs. If the Magnetic Fields created the score for a video game about a teenager in the midst of an existential crisis, whilst serving time in a Chinese laogai, it would sound very close to the music of Xiu Xiu. Very close. 

Keywords: "Alex Dawkins Vancouver", "Vancouver Concerts", "Biltmore Vancouver"

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