The Magician & the Gates of Love, 41st and Home, and Old Mare @ Aftermath Social House, Abbotsford; January 13, 2012

The Magician & the Gates of Love (@ Aftermath Social House)

No, that isn’t a typo in the title: this show did in fact occur in the Fraser Valley—in Abbotsford, no less!

When I discovered that 41st and Home were playing with the Magician & the Gates of Love in Abbotsford’s Aftermath Social House on the University of the Fraser Valley’s campus, I was a mildly excited; I wasn’t sure if this was actually happening or if I was wrapped up in a lucid dream of sorts.

Sure enough, the gig was real and was a big deal to me.  I had yet to attend a show at the university’s campus pub, as there haven’t been a lot of shows there, and the ones that have occurred have crept under my radar.  It was a big deal because if you read my rant from this past fall about how there are never any good local shows, you surely understand how annoyed I am by this fact.  Could this be a sign of changing times?  I sure hope so.

Opening up the night was a local act by the name of Old Mare, fronted by singer/guitarist Chris Janzen.  They’re a five piece from Abbotsford who incorporate a trumpeter that isn’t Andrew Lee, and do a nice job of combining the horn into their alt-indie rock sound.  Their opening tune Flood of 48 commanded my attention with a cool riff and time signature I found really interesting.  Janzen’s vocals seemed a little spotty at first but got better and better as the set went on.  Old Mare had a nice mixture of up-tempo tracks and slower tunes, and I look forward to listening to them a little more (here’s their Bandcamp page for your listening and downloading pleasure).

Next up was the uncompromised talent of Thom Kolb and 41st and Home.  This being the second time I had seen Thom and the gang live, the first being their PEAK Performance Project showcase back in October of 2011, and although they were playing a smaller stage to a smaller crowd, the effort and passion was ever-present.  Mixing up a setlist of both their stellar Raised By Wolves EP and Left In Places album, they played a fantastic set.

41st and Home

The highlight of the set was singing along to the undeniably catchy Wilderness Eyes while buckets of snow fluttered down right behind band, outside the large glass window.  It was a magical scene, and better than any lighting show anyone could have come up with.

The entire set was flawless—until the final tune, Gorbachev.  After an extended intro, it was noticeable Thom was having some troubles with his Epiphone.  After struggling to get any sound out of the guitar, he put it down and declared it a “guitarless Gorbachev!”  The song still sounded fantastic.  Was there ever any doubt?

After a short break, the main event took take the stage: The Magician & the Gates of Love.  Fronted by Nathan Moes—the magician himself—the band rocked out to some 60’s pop-inspired tunes, as well as a few mellower tracks that were good, but not as great as the upbeat pop tracks.  If you’ve ever met Nathan, you are likely a fan of his band, even if you haven’t even listened to them.  He’s a tough fellow not to enjoy on nor off-stage.  His knack for writing catchy hooks and pleasing melodies is enviable.

What shows off the most when you watch Nathan and the rest of the Magician & the Gates of Love posse is their undeniable joy they get from playing a live gig.  The jokes are endless and the banter is witty, to say the least.  They are constantly smiling and laughing on stage, even while playing songs that may not call for a smirk.  The band is loose and the crowd is sucked right in.  Watching their set was a lot of fun and the music wasn’t so bad either.  Their chops were likely best exemplified in their set closer—and fan favourite—I Want It All.

It was a great first experience seeing a show in Abbotsford’s Aftermath Social House on the UFV campus.  I can’t wait for the next one – tell your friends!

To end things off, here’s a clip I recorded

of that last tune by the Magician & the Gates of Love: (if you look close, you can see Thom Kolb boppin’ away at the front left!)

-Dylan

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~ by whet_hopped on January 17, 2012.

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