Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hoot Hoot Goes The Owl

Hammer Records has ventured over to Vancouver Island on many occasions but mostly for personal reasons, such as family. This time though we decided to check out some local bands that were playing on a Thursday night at The Copper Owl. Upon bussing down to Victoria and locating this rather hidden away venue we were pleasantly surprised that the show had not even started yet. Vancouver always (for the most part) have quite early start times, usually having a band on at 8pm or earlier meaning that usually the majority of the crowd misses the first act. We don't know if having later start times was due to the venue or just Victoria's nature. Which ever the case, we were excited to have not missed any of the bands!

First up was "The New Colors", a grunge rock band from Victoria. Playing a great set of original tunes they opened up the night nicely, setting the tone for what was to come. The drumming was tight, the bass (fretless!) was nice and thick and flowed nicely under the duel guitars. After hearing the EP and comparing it to them live, we would have like to see the vocals let go a little bit more. We felt it was a little restrained and perhaps it was the sound system in the venue but we wished he would have just put a little more grit and "in your face" that we hear on the album. I know playing to a smaller crowd is harder, but its even more reason to give it your all and get them into it. But defiantly an awesome welcome to the Victoria scene! After the show they presented us with a free copy of their EP on vinyl and also a single. Both sound great on vinyl and we wanted to congratulate them on the EP!

We recently saw No Operator play at the Cellar Night Club for the Cellar Launch Project. We were excited to see them on their own turf. Though normally a Nanaimo band they had ventured down to bring the thunder! Upon arriving at the Owl we heard that the singer/guitarist TJ had injured his wrist and that the band would be playing with only one guitar this night. He also confessed that he was a bit nervous to just be lead vocal for the night. As they blasted into their first song all fear was forgotten as the band seemed to fill the room with their music and stage presence. Though only fans would notice the sound difference from the usual line up, we did notice the limited dynamics. But to most people No Operator just slayed the set. Each band member interacted with the audience as well as each other and it seemed like they were having a blast! We will be keeping our eyes on these guys for sure.

Closing the night was Synapse. Epic is one word that I would use to describe their sound. A very tight stage presence but felt as if it was built for a stage bigger than the one the Copper Owl could provide. This band seems like the kind of sound and set that you would see on festival tours. Their drummer was one of the highlights of the nights though, just blasting into his kit and looking as if he was just having the time of his life. The lead guitar was buried a bit in the mix and some of the lead lines were harder to hear. One of problems with this genre of music is sometimes some of the coolest parts of the album are almost impossible to duplicate in real life. Upon hearing all the recordings I would love to see them at a bigger setting with the ability to use samples to beef up some of the tracks or maybe get a keyboard player for some tracks. Though nothing lacked live, the music was tight and the band sounded great. The vocals cut through the mix great and had solid pitch the whole set. Such a unique tone of vocal too really stood out. Can't wait to see the next show!

Also wanted to include a quick shout out to "The Day He Quit" this band will be sadly missed and I hope that they all continue making music in their own way and keep rocking life! They just played their final show last saturday and I heard it was a blast! Pirate Party!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mellow Yellow... Just Right!

Hammer Records always loves seeing three things; when new bands emerge, musicians making art, and rocking stage presence. Mellomanic's has all three, though they are in no way new to performing on stage, and have been playing music with each other since high school in various bands and groups.

However, this was their first show under this name. Performing at the Railway Club on a Wednesday, they had brought out a great crowd of friends and well wishers! From the moment they started playing music, a certain vibe filled the room. It seemed as if everyone just became friends with each other and was watching their best friends on stage. All attention was on the stage as the Mellomanics moved and grooved. Using every inch of the relatively small space to fit their 6 piece band, they still managed to dance and perform excellently on stage.

We were very impressed with the vocals. Both vocalists had quite different styles. Each complimented one another with their tones of voice. His voice had a touch of grit and more of a rock influence, while hers was smooth and silky and had more off a jazz pop essence. When doubling each others vocal lines it was as if two souls were interweaving back and forth. A great use of harmonies through many songs as well, which we noted were quite on pitch. We know harmonies can be rather difficult in a loud, live setting.

The band was super tight instrumentally. The drums and bass were solidly locked and provided the perfect swing, folk, reggae groove on many tunes. The guitarists switched it up from playing duel guitars to one or another switching to the keyboard. It provided a great shift in dynamics and tones within the set list, making each song unique and original.

We are excited to see this band leap forward and press toward the stars. We wish them luck and will try to attend more shows in the future to keep our tabs on them. We can see them making a great impression on the scene here, and should be playing many more shows in the future!

Be sure to check them out HERE and their music HERE and the gallery of images we shot that night HERE.