The Planet Bakery was packed on Friday as four bands put their own stamp on the night. There was something for everyone. It started off with singer songwriter Claire Ryan, followed by folk singer songwriter Jos Fortin. Tin Vespers linked the folk of the previous singers to the rock and roll of the Candle Cave Ensemble Pt. II and Cousins who finished the night.
Claire Ryan started the night off with her heart on her sleeve. Her songs were sad and slow but had a good solid rhythm to them. The symbolism in her lyrics can be a little overwrought at times but mostly her lyrics were melancholy and filled with details. Think a deeper voiced Julie Doiron.
The next artist,Jos Fortin, is very similar to Claire Ryan but a better guitar player. Jos songs have more of a folk feel to them, with a little bit of country mixed in. His songs are more story telling songs and I don't know many songwriters that use words like tincture. There was lots of volume difference inside his songs and in a room where people won't stop talking those softer parts tended to get lost.
Tin Vespers where up next, the bridge between the singer songwriters that started the evening and the rock and roll that would finish it out. They are a five piece band and are fascinating. They have an accordion, drums, keyboard, a three stringed guitar and a cello. Meg is the lead singer, plays the three stringed guitar while both the accordionist and the cello player contribute to the lush harmonies.
Their music is rather hard to explain. They have a majestic sound that reaches out and grabs you in a bear hug only reluctantly letting you go for the next song. They know exactly when to push forward and when to hang back. Either way they're great and utterly captivating.
After Tin Vespers the CandleCave Ensemble Pt II made things a lot louder. They played a very straight ahead, danceable style of rock with surf and garage rock thrown in to flavour the riffs. They had a great wall of sound, straight up with no frills to get in the way of dancing.
Cousins closed out the night with their thumping brand of aggressive, noisy rock and roll. They are a reverb soaked two piece from Halifax with riffs going off in every direction. They have a sharp, pointy guitar tone that rips out of the speakers and a singer that never abandons his desperate, searching vocals that usually stay melodic. They play a kind of blues. It is very distorted and put through a noisy punk rock filter but it is still blues at the basis.
The night had really had an evolution. Claire Ryan and Jos Fortin where rather soft and Tin Vespers was not particularly loud though they had their moments. The Candle Cave Ensemble Pt. II were the loudest band and Cousins topped everything nicely with their rather unique primitive bluesy punk rock.