Peak Performance Project BC Showcase #4
@ Fortune Soundclub - Vancouver
October 16, 2014
Photography credit - Jenn McInnis of Creative Copper Images
The Wild Romantics
Being an opener is hard, especially in a fairly reserved city like Vancouver. Not only do you have to perform for a generally sparse and fairly sober crowd, but you have to do this with as much enthusiasm as you can muster in hopes that you'll get your audience on board with the idea of dancing, cheering, and having a good time for the following bands. In this city, we've seen amazing bands fail to be able to pull this off. That being said, The Wild Romantics crushed this stereotype.
By the end of their first song, Hurricanes, the audience had gathered to the stage, cracked beers, and started swaying. The energy that radiated off this band was exciting, and the passion between Aleisha Kalina and Evan Miller commanded attention. Their interaction between not only themselves and band members, but with the audience as well was by far the best of the evening. From the anecdotes about each song, to their wandering throughout the audience, it was clear that The Wild Romantics were playing to impress.
A clear audience favourite was their Canadian cover, a mash-up of songs including No Sugar Tonight and American Woman by The Guess Who and I Don't Know by The Sheepdogs. Their final song, Starvin' Moon, takes a close second for the amazing dance party it created. All in all, a great performance, and a high-energy start to the evening.
Second to play was Derrival, a Langley based band that we'd had the pleasure of interviewing and watching play before their acceptance into the Peak Performance Project. We were interested to see how their stage presence had grown as a result of the competition, and were impressed with what we saw. Their musicianship has always been impressive, but their interaction with the audience has grown significantly. As Adam approached the microphone we could feel his confidence. Throughout the set it was obvious Derrival was happy to be there, with Adam repeating, "This is incredible."
With the audience warmed up from The Wild Romantics' set, Derrival was a great follow-up with their well-known, catchy songs. The initial chords of songs were met with cheers, and by their second song, Victoria Day, the audience was jumping and getting excited. While we would have liked to see a more unique take on their Canadian cover, Safety Dance, the audience clearly loved hearing the classic tune. Original Script was met with thunderous applause, and by the end of their final song, The Autumn Game, the room buzzed.
Overall, Derrival brought us the great musicianship and enjoyable songs we expected, matched with a new-found confidence on stage that we were happy to see. Derrival took what they learned at Bootcamp to heart, and we know this is a band with a bright future.
Pairing up the right bands together at a show can make, or break the tone of a concert. Unfortunately, pairing Damn Fools with these two openers just didn't feel like the right fit. It was apparent that the evening took a bit of a turn when Damn Fools started, with their classic rock sound not quite fitting into the vibe in the room. Something just felt a bit off, going from contemporary styled bands to a more classic, older rock style.
That being said, Damn Fools did a great job keeping the energy up in the room despite an off pairing. Their musicianship, vocals, and stage presence were great - taking the stage with full denim force, bursting out their first song All My Love. The third song, Miss Saigon, was an easy favourite with its cool surf-rock style melody, slick guitar rifts, and groovy bass. This chill, groovier song had people swaying. Strangers brought us that dirty, vintage club feel you'd want from a band of this style. We loved the soulful vibes we got from this band.
Lovers of sweaty, dirty, Doors inspired music will love Damn Fools - just remember to bring your dancing shoes.