Adaline / In Medias Res / Rococode

Biltmore, Vancouver BC November 5

> > Nov 06 2011

Adaline / In Medias Res / Rococode - Biltmore, Vancouver BC November 5
By Alan RantaRococode got the first draw on an all-Vancouver triple bill that served as the album release party for Adaline. All told, it was obvious to see why Rococode played first. Their sound was an unsurprising mix of alt-rock and synth pop, with alternating male and female vocals, both bland. While there was some variety in their song structures, they performed a little on the loose side, with any of the breakdowns or offbeat melodies sounding like missteps.

Though it was Adaline's night, as she would remind us, In Medias Res stole the show. Where Rococode exuded awkwardness, In Medias Res displayed the courage of their convictions. They had an honest and engaging stage presence, playing tight and together. The band held their united strength not only in heavier moments but in more serene pastures, which made the shifts to principal songwriter Andrew Lee's guitar thrashing and feedback dabbling all the more dynamic. Lee's slightly broken voice fits their emotive indie rock sound perfectly, lending a hint of fragility to their barely contained power. They can rock you, and they can move you.

Adaline wasted no time letting the crowd know whose party this was. Wearing a beige, sparsely sequined Dolly Parton-style dress that she originally bought for a flapper Halloween costume, Adaline claimed the night as hers, taunted the crowd for not dancing enough, and guilt-tripped everyone into going to the after-party. Granted, she did just release her sophomore album Modern Romantics, a record of grand ambition primarily recorded with Hawksley Workman on a budget many times that of her debut. One cannot fault her for being proud, but a little bit of humility goes a long way.

Certainly, Adaline has a striking voice. She boldly sang through a mostly dry mic, her natural timbre similar to Beth Gibbons of Portishead (albeit without Beth's experience). As such, her voice lends itself wonderfully to her downtempo songs, such as "Keep Me High," which reference -- if not duplicate -- the trip-hop aesthetic (i.e., a scratchy mic, orchestral instrumentation and big beats). Unfortunately, she has taken more influence from electro Goldfrapp rather than trip-hop Goldfrapp, so her songs tend to be sugary, upbeat and a little overcooked. Not helping matters, she suffered mic issues for the first few songs, crackling out into nothing every time she touched it.

Adaline was gracious to the sound guy as he fixed the faulty microphone, though, and her fans didn't seem to mind her aggressive banter, several of them reciprocating with shouts of loving adoration. Set in front of visuals plucked from Tron, anime, orchestras and cityscapes, while her band was clean, albeit thin, and her joy was undeniable.
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I have to respectfully disagree with this reviewer - anyone who is a fan of Adaline's will know that she is incredible with her fans and always gracious and humble and any "taunting" was done in jest. Perhaps because it was her hometown and her CD release her excitement was misunderstood. I do agree with his comments about her voice though - it's incredible.
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Adaline is most certainly gracious. She actually sent me an email thanking me for this review. She's a class act.
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i have to also disagree with the reviewer, on a few points. First, 100% agree with what was said above. I took the comment about the party as tongue in cheek. And playful. It was funny. And i,m sorry, but in media res stole nothing. the people around me were thankful when it ended. i know the off key singing was meant to be arty, but all i heard was off key singing. And the crowd response got noticeably less enthusiastic song, by song. So....not sure what show you were at Alan.
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Wow. I'm totally surprised by this review. I normally concur with most Exclaim concert reviews (well, the ones I've been to), but this one is so off to me - I'm in the same boat as one of the other commenters, In Media Res was a disappointment, lots of wailing and lack of cohesiveness, perhaps due to the loss of their long-time drummer. But as for Adaline, her joking about getting people to the after-party and her 'aggressive banter' - both were clearly just that - a joke. With this being her first show since the new CD and being back in Vancouver for the week, I would imagine she sincerely wanted a big turn out to celebrate this accomplishment. All of my past concert experiences with Adaline have been sincere, fan-appreciative, and I felt this concert was the same. An exuberant, talented artist who did a great job.
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I can see why the sound of In Medias Res was perhaps a little jarring for some, given they were sandwiched by two far more clean sounding indie pop acts, but I stand by my critique. For me, they stood out as having the most interesting and unique sound (you say off key, I say untraditional), and they gave a passionate performance (you say wailing, I say emoting). That's art for you... Two different people can come away with two different opinions. Thanks for taking the time to share yours.
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stealing the show implies the crowd, as a whole, were enamored with them. the crowd was not enamored with them. you were. And maybe a few others? then you should have said that is how you felt. The implication in your piece is that IMR somehow captured the crowd. which is a crock of shit. they must be your pals, eh?
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I have emailed IMR once or twice, but I wouldn't exactly call them my pals. I've talked to Adaline a lot more. She was the one who put me on the list for this show, and she thanked me for the review. She is very nice. If anyone from this evening is my pal, it's Adaline. I highly encourage you to send her an email, telling her I'm full of crap and she's awesome. She could be your pal too.

As for stealing the show, to me that means a non-headliner giving the best performance of an event. It's nice when the crowd is on-side with me, but occasionally they aren't. That doesn't really concern me. We are there for different reasons. Most of the crowd is just there to have a good time seeing the headliner and take it easy, while my job is to evaluate all the performances and take notes, then go home at 1AM and write my honest opinion down. Though it certainly has its fun side, I take my job seriously. Thanks for reading.
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don't give up your day job, eh? you are no Lester bangs. You aren't even Alex Varty. You writing and your taste is shit.
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Ranta,

I have to say this is a really disappointing review as it once again kicks off the piece with what the female performers outfit was and how she looked. Why was there no mention what so ever of what IMR or Rococode were wearing? Because that would seem silly right? Not relevant. Additionally you tore apart her personality, something you knew very little about.

A whole paragraph was placed on Adaline's outward appearance and demeanor. The more I read the angrier this piece made me. Shawna (you're good pal's real name). Worked tiredlessly on this album, was sick the night of the show and still was personable and put on an amazing performance. As a confident and funny person with a touch a sass you repeatedly hinted that she was out of line. Calling her banter aggressive? And reminding her to be humble over her successes rather than confident? Wow you really do have some old beliefs about women. Would this have been alright coming from say Jason Collett? Or Dan Mangan if they told the crowd what to do or started a conversation in between awkward sound problems? I have a feeling you would of let that one slide.

In the future when reviewing a female performer, please ask yourself 'would I write from the same angle for a male singer?' You can make a difference and play fair or you can just do what everyone else does and make it twice as hard for female performers. You're choice. And for the record, when Adaline thanked you after dumping all over her - that was humility and class buddy. Take a lesson.
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Seriously, give this reviewer a break. Reviews aren't always glowing. Deal with it. That's the way this business works. If you can't take it, maybe you should stick to reading fluff pieces and skip the reviews. And describing what a female performer wore is not sexist. Are you kidding? Really? And same with making observations about stage banter. This reviewer didn't like everything about this show, explained why, and again in his own comments, and you still can't deal with it. Take a deep breath and move on.
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Didn't expect glowing, never do. I'm a music reviewer myself. I didn't call anyone sexist. I was simply pointing out a common annoyance in the music industry. I was making a fairly common point, I'm sorry you missed it. As for giving him a break, well it goes both ways. If you perform you can get negative feedback. And if you write a public review in a national paper, you can also get negative feedback.

Cheers
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Quite frankly, I'm disgusted and insulted by the accusations leveled against me by a cowardly nameless poseur on December 6th. If you really are a music critic as you say you are, you should have the integrity to stand behind your opinion as I do, rather than take shots at a colleague while hiding. And you're the one lecturing me about class... f*cking hypocrite.

I am very sensitive about culturally ingrained sexist attitudes towards females, specifically female musicians. I mentioned what Adaline wore this evening not because she's a woman, but because it stood out. Do you really think anyone reviewing a Lady Gaga or Cher concert is not going to mention any of their outfits? Of course, they are. That's a big part of why people go to see them. People also talk about Justin Hawkins' catsuits. That's part of why people go to see The Darkness. I reviewed a show, not just a listen.

Furthermore, I mentioned Adaline's demeanor this evening not because she's a woman, but because it stood out. Yes, there are excuses for it. I knew she was excited about her new album, which I pointed out, and I know for a fact that she's a cool person. But, on this evening, I reported what I saw. I didn't know she was sick, and it's not really my job to speculate. It's my job to report relevant things that happen.

I may also point out that the co-lead singer of Rococode is a woman. Did I talk about what she wore and her demeanor? No, because it didn't stand out as an important detail. If she came out in a spacesuit and told us to eat crow, I would have mentioned that. If all the dudes in In Medias Res came out in a dresses and farted into the mic, I would have mentioned that too.
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