Review by Nilabjo / Photos by Cristina Bianchi
Vancouverites (or fans of the bands from the city) in the TDot were in good numbers at The Drake Friday night. The city’s music jewels The Belle Game were in town, and brought along city-kins Bear Mountain to the party. And it was a party all right!
Getting it all started was the indie-dance sound of Bear Mountain. Lead by Ian Bevis on vocals and a full band, the crowd started grooving as soon as Kenji Rodriguez (synth, samples) dropped the beats to the first song. Playing tracks from the recently re-released XO, on Last Gang Records, it was easy to see why their alternative-dance tunes created major buzz at SXSW. The technicolour light show on two triangular banners and no-stop transitions between songs certainly made you feel as if you were at a club with a live DJ! The nearly packed house (pretty impressive for an opener!) loved the jams and even asked for an encore!
After a quick turnaround, The Belle Game did their best to keep the party going. Lead by powerful vocals of Andrea Lo, the quintet is touring behind the dark-pop sounds of recently released Ritual Tradition Habit. One thing was clear right away: Lo is the star of the show. The commanding vocal presence, something that is rare in this genre, was giving me goosebumps, especially on the high notes of the latest single River. The crowd did get antsy as the night progressed, yearning for something to move to. The energy level upped a few bars as the band brought a close friend, Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), to do guest vocals on a new song. Not until the last song, the more upbeat “Wait Up for You”, did the packed house re-engaged with the headliner on stage.
Despite the impressive instrumentation and show-stealing vocals, The Belle Game set felt underwhelming. They just couldn’t match the hype caused by DJ Bevis.. err I mean Bear Mountain. Its okay though The Belle Game. You can just blame it on the genre.