In The Flesh...Basia Bulat @ The West End Cultural Centre; YACHT @ The Pyramid

>> Monday, 1 March 2010

I apologize for this late write-up. 

But only half-heartedly.

You see, I caught an unshakeable bout of Olympic fever this past week and was particularly immobilized by the ubiquitous Men’s hockey pathogen, a bug I’m told about 80% of Canadians experienced at some point yesterday. Lots of “If Canada wins, then” scenarios happened all week, starting around Wednesday, and those if-then-statements kept going down the "win? play next opponent" side and, well, 8 out of 10 of you know how it turned out: simply golden. Best game...ever?  


With Basia Bulat appearing solo for the first time at the West End, and YACHT docking in Manitoba soil for the first time (@ the Pyramid), I managed to hit both on Thursday night. 

First up: Basia (pronounced Bah-sha). 

Basia’s folk-leaning, bucolic songs are clever, sophisticated, and accessible without being cloying or too poppy. She clutches a temperamental 95-year-old harp to her chest, plucking away with loving care. Between songs she’s charming and funny, and unquestionably passionate about music. And most of all, she has one of the most distinct voices around: her alto is somehow powerful, rich, deep, and inviting all wrapped in one. 

I left the West End impressed and moved, thinking about how Basia deserves all the praise she’s garned so far in her young career and how her new album is even better than the last. 

Female altos are very refreshing. 

With Basia wrapping things up by 10:30, I was able to dash home, watch some figure skating (like I said, Olympic fever), and still get to the Pyramid for midnight. The Pyramid being the Pyramid, YACHT still weren’t on. Finally, while I was stifling yawns, they materialized and entertained with earworms off 2009’s lavish dance-pop album, See Mystery Lights

If I could pick one word to describe their show, it would be playful. The frontcouple - Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans - were joined by opening act Bobby Birdman (on the bass) and a drummer (whose name I scribbled down in the dark, but am unable to decipher). Together, all four were merchants of fun, selling a bona fide good time for the low low cost of $12! Jona was even wearing a stark white suit, forever the salesman signifier. 

There was a little too much audience interaction for my liking – including an overly long impromptu “ask us anything” Q & A session – which left me begging for less talk, more rock dancey electro-pop. 

Infinite Playlist: Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me (Disc One)


Rieds 2 March 2010 at 11:16  

Re: The Pyramid being the Pyramid.

It takes some strong convincing for me to go see a show there now days. It's pretty frustrating being a captive patron without a seat for hours on end... then getting home at 3am on a weeknight.

Jeope 2 March 2010 at 14:34  

We loved the Bulat show, got there early for a kickass seat. I loved the first album but I agree the second is even better, which is a difficult feat. Her opening act, I think, was a little nervous.

Anonymous,  2 March 2010 at 22:37  

I was looking for reviews of the YACHT show to see what other people thought because I was pretty disappointed in it. I left thinking the YACHT is/was an uninspired regurgitation of everything New Wave (Talking Heads, anyone?) instead of taking the opportunity to be a refreshing reinvention of that oft emulated genre. That being said, it was a fun show for people watching, and Not Animals were really good.

Anonymous,  5 March 2010 at 23:35  

I managed to catch both those acts that night as well. All in all a great night was had. I didn't expect much aside from good music and good company and it turned out memorable.

P.S. I thoroughly enjoyed the Q&A. It gave them character haha.

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