Lavender Diamond / Sean Wesley Wood The Lamplight, Vancouver BC May 23

Since starting a few years back, Lavender Diamond have split the scene into two camps: those who are totally taken by the group’s cutesy, hippie-tinged tunes and those who can’t even stand the thought of them. For the former, this show likely proved utterly delightful and may even have converted some of the latter. But before the Californians swayed into a little peace, love and harmony, they had Vancouver’s Sean Wesley Wood set the scene. Minus his boisterous backing band and usual horde of followers, he humbly used only voice and guitar to free some tender folk songs into the warm spring night, showing a small, but appreciative crowd why he’s one of the city’s most promising and likeable songwriters. However, Lavender Diamond were not nearly so subdued. As the group’s singer, Becky Stark, leaped onto the stage in a glittery frock and a red rose in her hair, she gave a rather enthusiastic greeting: "We would like to congratulate everyone for peace coming to planet Earth. Let’s hear it for peace!” (According to the Lavender Diamond comic distributed at the show, these words start every gig.) Flower-child inclinations aside, her cheery demeanour instilled the night with an innocent, light-hearted energy. With a simple piano/guitar/drums set-up, Stark and the band drew from their latest LP, Imagine Our Love, as well as a few older favourites. While several slow-burners like "Rise in the Springtime” beautifully showcased Stark’s classically trained soprano, it was the upbeat, girl-pop-inspired songs that really stood out. The high-spirited "Open Your Heart” and the crowd pleaser, "You Broke My Heart,” found the energetic vocalist unveiling a barrage of junior high dance moves and playful stage antics that were thoroughly irresistible. At one point, she confessed her band’s music made her feel like "some kind of serious elf person.” And while the songs may have not have had this effect on everyone, they surely left the majority with a warm, satisfied glow.