Veronica Falls / Brilliant Colors Media Club, Vancouver, BC, March 22

Veronica Falls / Brilliant Colors Media Club, Vancouver, BC, March 22
Photo: Steve Louie
They may be called Brilliant Colors, but the San Francisco outfit's set this evening was neither brilliant nor colourful. To their credit, they had propulsive energy in attempting to bring their indie noise-pop compositions to life, but a couple things hamstrung any potential musical gains from their collective spirit. They had a persistent feedback whine that kept creeping up in waves throughout their set, which may or may not have attributed to the boggy muddiness of the bottom end, but worse than that was the voice of bowl-cut bandleader Jess Scott, which was irritably flat and underpowered.

All dressed in black, save a denim jacket on the bassist, Veronica Falls did not fare much better than their Slumberland labelmate openers. They were clearly tighter, and their sound sharper without the unwanted feedback, but the vocals of guitarists Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare, often harmonized with drummer Patrick Doyle, didn't sit well. As their set progressed, their vocals and guitars seemed to get more out of tune.

Veronica Falls seemed like nice enough people from their banter, which mostly came from Doyle. The charming drummer noticed people cavorting off to the side about 15 minutes into their set, and called them to the front of the stage to try to form a dance circle. He also kindly invited the crowd to the after-party multiple times. Yet, when they performed, their expressions glassed over, with Clifford and Hoare casting vacant fish stares into the illuminated crowd.

It seemed they were going for that cool, disconnected English post-punk feel within their indie-pop style, and they succeeded. Songs like "Wedding Day" from their eponymous debut and particularly newer material like "Broken Toy" and the false-started "Buried Alive" from their recent record Waiting for Something to Happen lacked the lustre from their studio recordings. There is playing with abandon, and then there's just being off.