New Music West 2003 May 21 to 25, Vancouver BC

New Music West 2003 May 21 to 25, Vancouver BC
By Cheryl Rossi, Coreen Wolanski, Martin Turenne and Sarah Murdoch A.M.P. Fronted by scene don Flipout, this three-way rap attack showed off a polished style, nimbly treading between pop-oriented hooks and literate lyrics. While a lot of nascent rap groups shout their way through sets, A.M.P. delivers their floetry in classic style, marking them a group to watch in Van City's insurgent hip-hop scene. MT Agriculture Club One can never have too much good old fashioned whisky-drinkin', shit-kickin' country, with a little helping of rock on the side. Their not so serious genre crossing kept toes a tappin' and knees a slappin' for a good half-hour. CW Billy The Kid Billy the Kid looks like a librarian, but backed by her band, the Lost Boys, she really rocks. The punk rock set was extremely tight, featuring high-energy guitar, bass and drums all played to a fast, rocking tempo — including habitually adjusting her glasses while laying out explosive, chunky guitar licks and powerful vocals. SM Crystal Pistol By the end of the first song, the front-man was drenched in a fountain of beer. these guys epitomised cock rock excess. To finish the set, our hero dove off the amp and slid on the ale- and spit-covered stage to land smack on his guitarist's leg. It ain't rock'n'roll till something gets broken. Fantastic. CW E.Motionz E.Motionz laced a brilliant set in front of a demanding audience. Short of stature and slight of frame, E.Motionz seemed unbowed by the pressure, twisting lyrics with an understated sense of confidence and building high expectations for his debut LP, forthcoming in 2004. MT Fit One half of the Rascalz's MCs — the one who refused to appear on that ridiculous "Movie Star" song — delivered a scorching set of solo burners. Rumour has it that Fit isn't comfortable with the Rascalz's overtures to the mainstream and his set drove that point emphatically home. Spitting ferocious battle boasts over a grimy beatscape, Fit capped off the hip-hop showcase with style, showing the next generation how it's done. MT Immaculate Machine Victoria's alt-pop trio charmed an unsuspecting crowd when synth player Kathryn Calder harmonised with guitarist Brook Gallupe. However, the group lost some of their magnetism when drummer Luke Kozlowski sang. Though the band has been together long enough to record two albums, this was their first show in Vancouver and hopefully, not their last. CR Jerk With A Bomb Jerk With a Bomb showcased their somewhat mellow and twangy drone rock, evoking stories to move the soul. Smooth vocal harmonies flowed seamlessly in and out of carefully crafted synth and guitar melodies. SM Mikey Manville Rolling out tunes from his debut LP, Over These Hills, the crooner strummed his guitar like a man possessed, rocking and rolling all over the tiny stage. Manville is that rarest of singer/songwriters, one with an ineffable star quality and a refreshingly passionate approach to live performances. MT Operation Makeout Power-pop trio Operation Makeout's energetic version of boy-girl indie-pop is fun and contagious. Vocal duties alternated between Katie Makeout (guitar) and Jesse Makeout (bass), the trio remained tight and solid throughout their set, thanks in part to the solid drumming of Anna Makeout. SM P:ano A quiet and respectful audience seemed at times to be holding their breath. Striking in their beautiful subtlety, the songs each featured a diverse range of instruments at points, but always managed to keep a delicate feel. Beautiful understated vocals by Nick Krgovich are a wonderful constant and the harmonies provided by Lariss Loyva provided an extra treat. SM Pleasurecraft Only two guitars and two keyboards/vocalists made up this infectiously poppy synth-pop set. With their smooth, soul-inspired vocals (à la Moev) and drum machine rhythms, they could easily have passed for an '80s pop act. It was a treat to see a band so obviously having a bang-up time, even if the typically staid Vancouver crowd in an uptight venue wouldn't budge. CW Quincy Gold These guys blew the roof off the place with their chug-chugging down'n'dirty riffs, and overall high energy. They didn't need to look rock, they are rock. The guy next to me said "wow" after every song ended. My sentiments exactly. CW Shawn Smith Smith proved himself a versatile soul crooner, cruising comfortably in a low register and hitting the occasional Prince-esque high note. Backed by a supple four-piece band and two backup singers, Smith shone throughout his pop-tinged set, churning out memorable hooks by the handful. MT Stink Mitt Salacious sistas/MCs Jenni Craige and Betti Forde shocked and awed with their raunchy lyrics and trashy shtick. With producer Mr. Bigstuff's "get you going" grooves, Craige's powerful vocals and Forde's masterful moves, which included simulated humping while in the splits, Stink Mitt rawked. The only thing that distracted from their pussy power was keyboardist Dr. Do This's crappy boy band dance moves. CR The Robot Ate Me Accordion, trumpet and harmonica rounded out the setup to give these guys their unique sound. The keyboard player even used the keys in his pocket as a shaker as electronic and psychedelic sounds led the songs into heavy melodic jams that would come to a crashing stop. Behind the instrumental chaos was some heartfelt songwriting. CW The Rumours This show got more asses shaking than this venue usually sees, and it's a strip joint. Three girls, one boy on drums and haircuts fresh out of 1979, the Rumours got the looks to match their sound. They have fun with the punk'n'roll thing, with front gal Lou Rumour inserting shouts and sneers where applicable. CW The Secret Three In a bunker far below ground, the mostly instrumental sounds of these Hive-Fi artists conjured images of languidly floating in a river on a gentle summer's day. Two guitars, bass and drums lulled listeners while the beautiful Chris Harris added delicate vocals to one of the more lovely numbers. CR