Published May 07, 2012Showcasing the present and future of the vibrant Vancouver indie rock scene, the fresh-faced Chains of Love and established Said the Whale both professed their joy in returning triumphantly home to perform for their friends, family and fans.
Chains of Love took the stage first and accepted their role as the warm-up band with complete seriousness and commitment. Lead singer Nathalia Pizarro spurred the audience to crowd surf and make out, abusing her tambourine as she said, "Let's get nasty! Let's get fucked up!"
Pizarro has all the firecracker energy of a young Rachel Nagy, though Chains of Love's garage sound leans more towards early '60s soul than the more rock-based Detroit Cobras. Chains of Love don't present a sepia-toned homage so much as a vibrant reincarnation, vigorous and rough around the edges. Even their sad songs make you want to get up and do the mash potato.
With three albums and a Juno under their belt, Said the Whale gave the bustling sold-out crowd more to buzz about, belting out the choruses and gratefully screaming when each recognizable song started. This soft-spoken quintet have a more contemporary sound than Chains of Love, performing indie rock with a hint of folk, while many if not most of their lyrics are based on their hometown. They practically apologized when they played songs that weren't about Vancity, which proved unnecessary during their enthusiastically received "Big Sky, MT," a song about co-lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist Ben Worcester's grandpa picking wildflowers in Montana.
It was clear Said the Whale have a good rapport among themselves and with their fans. Their polished performance and consistent smiles demonstrated a deep love for what they do, and their banter showed respect and extreme thankfulness for their audience. At one point, Worcester asked crowd surfers to be courteous, to say hello to their neighbours, and take their shoes off before moving skyward, then warned his mother not to swan dive off the balcony. Even in a moment of scolding, they came off congenial and humble.