Much like last week (which, for various reasons, I haven’t written about here. My apologies to those whose lives are bereft without these reviews ;), week 7 of SHiNDiG was better than virtually every other night. Not the least of which reason was that the Railway Club was packed, as each band brought out some fans.
The first band of the night, Hejira is possibly one of the very best bands that I’ve ever seen in 3-odd years of going to SHiNDiG. Certainly, they were, shall we say, heavily influenced by Radiohead, but they were good in their own right. The cynic in me also wants to say “given the amount of money they must have spent on gear, they’d better damn well be good”. And fortunately they were. Their first song was really derivative, but after that they found their own sound within the techno-rock that Radiohead (and few others) do so well. The singer, with his high, plaintive, somewhat nasal voice, was very evocotive, if a little incoherent. The guitarist, who is the recipient of my major complaint for fiddling with switches as much as playing, thrashed out admirably, while the bassist/keyboardist/mixer held steady, not being too flashy, but certainly holding his own. Their sound is almost certainly unique in the Vancouver music scene, and well-worth seeing (although be wary if they play anywhere with notoriously bad sound).
The Skatomatics, as the name implies, were a Ska band. Like the name also implies, they brought nothing new at all to the genre, seemingly content to rock lightly through the night. It would have been ok had they any edge, or played a little looser, but rather, they kept it safe & staid, and the result was disapointingly boring. Ska should always be fun, at the very least, and I didn’t find theirs much fun at all. It was pleasant, sure, that’s damning praise.
Closing out the night was Cadeaux a really interesting pop-band. Featuring 2 female lead-vocalists, who battled & traded lead throughout the set, they were really good. Sadly for them, their voices were simply too high-pitched for me, and I’d wince whenever they’d hit a high note. There was also a strange tinny buzzing, like a dime shaking on a vibrating plate, or something, that was really irritating. I’m not sure if that was part of their sound, playing the higher ranges on the guitars, or some fuck-up in the sound, but it drove me out of the club early. Despite this, their songs, their sound, their musicianship was all interesting, and worth another look.
Because I left early, I don’t actually know who won last night. I certainly voted for Hejira, but I suspect that Cadeaux might have carried the night, because their sound is closer to what I would call the “CiTR sound” – slightly messy, cute, endearing pop-rock, little pretense and lots of scenester cred.