Casiotone for the Painfully Alone / No Kids / Cryptacize Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC July 16

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone / No Kids / Cryptacize Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC July 16
This year has been a busy one for Owen Ashworth, more verbosely known as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. With the release of both a new full-length and a odds'n'sods comp, as well as a reworked sound that incorporates instruments beyond his usual cheap synths and drum machines, Ashworth really seems to be hitting his stride. Which is why it totally sucks that CFTPA's scheduled Vancouver tour stop was derailed by a car accident (he's all right, the car isn't). Nevertheless, the show went on, with scheduled openers No Kids (pictured) and Cryptacize sharing headlining duties. And though the Biltmore was less than half-full (the promoter was offering full refunds) and parts of the crowd were exceptionally inattentive, the bands pulled together a solid evening's entertainment.

Vancouver's No Kids opened the show with a set of mostly new songs, many of which Nick Krgovich (formerly of P:ano) had premiered solo during a haunting hometown opening spot for Mount Eerie last month. This time, Krgovich was joined by the rest of No Kids, playing more fleshed-out versions of the new tracks. Providing additional vocals was Vancouver's Rose Melberg (formerly of Tiger Trap, the Softies), and to great effect. There were moments of uncertainty as the band struggled to extend their set with unrehearsed material, and at times they couldn't hide their annoyance at the chattiness of the crowd. Nevertheless, Krgovich has that peculiar gift of making awkwardness charming, and the performance was intimate and memorable (to those who were paying attention, at least).

By the time Oakland, CA's Cryptacize hit the stage, even more people had decided to call it a night, but they still gamely turned in an energetic performance. Cryptacize really only have one trick - slow and yearning suddenly giving way to bouncy and carnivalesque, as exemplified in 2007's "Cosmic Sing-a-long" - but they're good at it. And front-woman Nedelle Torrisi is so unforgettably charismatic that you hardly notice anyway. All in all, the night was a surprising success, headliner or no headliner.