Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy to be back

It's horrible to think the last time I managed to see a show was February 26, unfortunately events and last-minute show cancellations conspired to keep me out of the clubs. At least my return to the scene - Zaphod Beeblebrox's free showcase, to be precise, to see The Sheepdogs, Heidi Happy, Songs From a Room and The Jay Spectre - was graced by four capable-to-excellent sets. Unfortunately a lot of people stayed away ... either they're all off in Cancun, or they're building their strength for St. Patrick's Day.

First up were local duo Organ Eyes. What I heard of them online made them sound like a fuzzed-up folk duo. They're still a folk duo, quite a young one, but their show was mostly fuzzless, and made me think of Vashti Bunyan.

Organ Eyes, Zaphod Beeblebrox, March 16, 2009

They were followed by Toronto's The Jay Spectre, who take some funk, add ska, throw in some pop and shake well. It's not a recipe that particularly appeals to me, but I can't fault their stage skills or musical chops. I particularly dug co-guitarist Jon Hembrey's solo turn. Their set featured a funked up version of Simon & Garfunkel Cecilia. Afterward singer James asked me if I could think of any local bands who might make for a good show partner and my mind was a complete blank apart from Ty Hall and The EZ3 ... anyone else have suggestions? Loudlove, maybe?

The Jay Spectre, Zaphod Beeblebrox, March 16, 2009

The main draw based on my Internet investigations were Songs From A Room. The track I heard online made me think of Soundtrack Of Our Lives at their most full-throated. They put on a cracking live set too. Real robust rock'n'roll ... there's a couple of guitarists missing from this shot, and frontman Brayden Jones has ditched his Gibson SG for the set-ending Revival.

Songs From A Room, Zaphod Beeblebrox, March 16, 2009

I didn't need any Internet research to tell me I wanted to see Saskatoon's The Sheepdogs. I hoped to catch them last time they were supposed to play Zaphod's but they had to bail on that gig. Soundman Slo' Tom told me they were a great band, and several other folks have echoed that praise, most recently in the comments section yesterday. They are indeed an excellent group: Singer Ewan Currie has a strong clear and emotive voice, and either of the guys singing backup could front a band. Excellent guitarwork too from Currie and fellow axeman Leo Hanson.

The Sheepdogs, Zaphod Beeblebrox, March 16, 2009

The only downside was that Heidi Happy was a no-show. According to her schedule she's performing tonight at Cafe Nostalgica (at 603 Cumberland) with People Project. I'm also glad I only have to wait until Saturday for my next night out.

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