Published Mar 22, 2010The last time Halifax songwriter Paul Murphy made the cross-Canada trip to Vancouver in April 2009, his band Wintersleep sold out a two-night stand at the Commodore Ballroom. Clearly, Murphy has yet to garner the same following with his side-project Postdata, as the performance took place in the comparatively modest Media Club. An early show that coincided with a Canucks game, the room was noticeably below capacity, but this sparse turnout helped to increase the intimacy of Postdata's confessional electro folk.
Murphy was accompanied by his Wintersleep cohort Tim D'eon, whose synthesizers and samples ensured that the performance never came off as just another singer-songwriter project. The purring keyboards rattled the speakers on the chilling "Paranoid Clusters," while the B-side "River Run" was anchored by a bass-heavy dance beat that even featured a jokey foray into techno in its final seconds. Best of all was the slow-building "Tracers," with hand percussion and blasts of synth static driving the song to a crescendo that was downright thrilling.
For opening entertainment, the crowd got Hamilton songstress Julie Fader, whose honeyed vocals made it easy to see why she's previously been recruited as a backup singer by artists such as Feist, Chad VanGaalen and Great Lake Swimmers. Her own songs were pleasant, although not always memorable, and the highlight of the set was when she handed her drink ticket to an audience member who had spilled a beer near the front. Charming as she was, don't expect Fader to outshine her collaborators any time soon.
Soon Murphy will soon rejoin his Wintersleep band-mates to promote their upcoming album. And while it's a shame that Postdata will be put on hold, the good news is that the next time Murphy comes back to town, more people will likely be around to see him.