Fruit Bats @ The Media Club, Vancouver, August 9, 2010

As my amigo and I entered into the dimly lit, tightly packed “room” that is the Media Club, we both knew this show was going to be intimate and fun!  The opening act consisted of Tariq of local Vancouver band, Brasstronaut, as well as a few hand-picked musicians to back him up onstage.  I had not heard any of Tariq’s solo stuff, or any Brasstronaut for that matter, but listening to him sing was quite nice.  Loved the delay pedal he was using for his vocals, great idea!  He doesn’t sing in his other band, so even if you’re familiar with Brasstronaut, you will find a very different sound from this solo effort.  The crowd was weary at first, but really got into it towards the end of their act, and how could you avoid a smile with Tariq crooning lines such as “I call shotgun on your heart” and “Fighting gravity is only bringing me down”.  He reminded me of a young Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, not only for his voice but also with his way with lyrics. Got to meet him after the show and he was a very nice, humble, down-to-earth guy.

Moving on to the main event.  The Fruit Bats hit the stage around 10pm and opened with the first track off their latest album, Primitive Man. I stood and listened to a full array of Telecaster tone and lap-steel guitar cries oozing from the monitors, reveling in the beautiful noise they were producing.  This reveling did not end for the rest of the show.

Eric Johnson, front man for the Fruit Bats has a wonderful stage presence and an amazing voice to go along with it.  They continued to rock, not mellowing out a whole lot for most of the show, playing all of their “hits” such as Ruminant Band, Unusual Friend and When U Love Somebody, the latter of which can be heard on the Michael Cera film, Youth In Revolt.  They even played one of my personal favourites, Blessed Breeze, and considering I was not expecting it, it was that much sweeter!  Never did the band not have the small crowd dancing and singing along.

With a solid hour and then some through their set, the band exited the stage.  About a minute later, Johnson returns to the stage alone and performs a fantastic song all alone, just him and his Tele Deluxe, truly showcasing his vocal range and talent.  I really wish I knew the name of the song he played because it was quite brilliant.  The rest of the band returned for two more songs and called it a night.

This was one of my favourite shows I’ve been to in a while, considering all the elements in play:  small venue, great band, good sound and a next-to-perfect set list.  If you have not heard of the Fruit Bats, or if you have but haven’t given them a listen, do yourself a favour and check them out.  As good as their music is on disc, their live show is that much better.  They even take their mellower tunes such as Union Blanket and really liven them up and rock them hard.  I was at the show with a friend of mine and he had never heard the Fruit Bats before but was very impressed with most, if not all elements of the show.

Without a doubt I would see them again, and feel a little as though I was ripping them off for only paying $16.25 to see them live for how much they put into their show.  Considering they are on the indie circuit, you likely won’t pay much more than this to see them again when they come back, and even if you had to pay more, you would indeed get your money’s worth.

Fantastic show, atmosphere, sound and set list! Couldn’t have asked for anything more:  5 out of 5 stars!

When U Love Somebody – Fruit Bats

Ruminant Band – Fruit Bats

Canyon Girl – Fruit Bats

Primitive Man – Fruit Bats

Blessed Breeze – Fruit Bats


~ by DR on August 10, 2010.

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