SHiNDiG 2004: Semi-Finals, night 1

And so the weak have been culled, and now the various greybacks of the local music scene are left to duke it out to become the SHiNDiG 2004 champion, to go on to a long and successful career as local music darlings (or at least, intend to do such. Actual post-SHiNDiG success seems much more ephemeral that it perhaps should)

Lining up this night were the winners from the first 3 weeks of SHiNDiG, Dandi Wind, The Little Death and Evol Hearted. A small quibble here: I think it would be more interesting if the 9 semi-finalists were all ‘re-seeded’, so that it could be say Week1, Week 5 & Week 9 in the first semi-final, rather than just dividing up the opening rounds into 3 groups.

Like probably everyone else who’d been through the first round, there was little doubt as to who would win this night: Dandi Wind is just so much more than either of these other two bands. Not only is the performance amazing, but musically it stands out too: I forced myself to just listen with my eyes shut this time, to see if the music would stand up without the performance, and it really did.

The Little Death, who are interesting with their varied time signatures, odd little drum lines (I’m sure there’s a technical, or musical term for what I mean – fills, is it?), and other little musicianly tips-of-the-hat. Unfortunately, they are not the virtuoso musicians that this sort of wizardry requires in order to pull off. Also unfortunately, the singer’s voice is almost painfully bad. Which all leads to them just not doing well last night.

Evol Hearted, whom I missed in the first round, were, in my opinion, rather dull. Melodic, clean, talented, but, well, bland. Nothing about them (apart from having a female drummer, which is more common than you might think in Vancouver, but still uncommon) really stands out in my mind as being worthy of moving on. They aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination – they’re in fact quite tight and together and decent. But, like so many bands, they fail the critical test of having something that sets them apart. Which doesn’t mean that they won’t find that spark someday, or won’t enjoy some success – it just means they’re not going any further this year in SHiNDiG.

And so our first finalist is proclaimed, and deservedly so: Dandi Wind. All that remains now is to see whether any band can stand up to their fantastic, manic performances.