Review: Joseph Leroux Photos: Aaron Cunningham
It was a packed night at the Copper Owl on January 30th, boasting a crowd as diverse as the music. Synthpop trio Croatia started off the evening. Steve Mitchell and Matt Dell let loose heady, ethereal rhythms onto the dance floor while vocalist Tashiina Buswa busted out her best bedroom dance moves. The crowd was in no mood to behave meekly, and Mitchell’s combination of live and programmed percussion, equally reminiscent of 80’s synthwave and modern pop, gave them the inspiration they needed to move. Dell’s guitar cut hooks out of air while Bushwa sang into her reflection in the tall mirrors circling the stage. They discussed some loose plans on recording a full-length, in the upcoming weeks.
Having exported themselves Island-wise for the first time, it was the goal of Vancouverites Mesa Luna to prove that their “shadowy music from a rainy city” could travel well. It did. Vocalist and guitarist Justice McLellan crooned sleepily into the mic, making use of open, textural chords, and tremolo picking. His presence in front of the mic was stoic, if occasionally tortured. Contrastingly, producer Alex Cooper’s quest seemed spiritual. Drum sequences pulsed and bobbed; bass synth hummed under his fingers while he practiced his footwork and sweat through is King of Pop tee. Mesa Luna’s sound is equally contrasting. It drifts from ancy dance rhythms, to misanthropic urbanite hummings--both of which seem to be inspired by fog and sour weather.
Third act of the night Bodies--a rebirth of pop rockers Helloseptember--was a marked change from the bands before. Much of the crowd that had come for the first two bands had left the venue. They were quickly replaced those waiting in the rain to get inside. Bodies appeared onstage with no synths to speak of and performing a tight set of guitar music. Self-describing as bedroom rock, Bodies’ sound borrows as much from mid-2000’s emo and pop punk as it does modern indie. Vocalist Tyler screamed his heart-heavy lyrics into the mic while lead guitarist Paul Shenton provided a tasteful gilding atop the band’s straightforward melodic sensibilities.
Final act Brothers didn’t take to the stage until after midnight. Vocalists Shane and Owen Hooper have been playing music together since childhood. Accompanied only by Adrien Heim on drums--Brothers often performs with guest guitarists--the trio executed a passionate and high energy set, characterized by Owen’s melodic bass playing and his and Shane’s familial harmonies. Sure, Owen Hooper might’ve ended up on the ground once or twice during the set, but he did it with charisma and without missing a note. Keep an eye out for tour dates and a full-length this summer.