Sidney York, Violent Kin & Fortunate Isles @ Aftermath Social House, Abbotsford, Mar. 9, 2012

The mini-orchestra known as Sidney York

Back in late summer when I posted a bit of a rant about how lame and non-existent the Abbotsford (and greater Fraser Valley) live music scene is, I could only hope that things would change.

Little did I know, change would slowly be on its way.

This past Friday night, I had the absolute joy of watching not one, but THREE bands play at my university campus bar (Aftermath Social House at UFV).  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this show was the fact that none of the bands were from Abbotsford or the surrounding area. Opening act Fortunate Isles are from Regina and the middle act, Violent Kin, hail from just north in Saskatoon.  Brandi Sidoryk, lead singer of Sidney York is from Calgary, with the rest of her band coming from various cities in Canada.  Abbotsford just so happened to be in between Vancouver and Canadian Music Week in Toronto, so Sidney York and friends decided to drop by and treat us with a show.

An Abbotsford show that featured 3 bands from out-of-town.  The tides are turning!

“Quit with the geography lesson and get on with it.”

Fair enough.  The Fortunate Isles were first to take the small stage in the awkwardly-lit campus pub.  They were also the first victims of some technical difficulties with the sound mix: their opening tune was a raucous affair that had me clamouring for my earplugs, as if someone had set the volume to 11 (Brad!).  But loud is not bad! The rest of their set was quite enjoyable once my eardrums were a little more at ease.

The Fortunate Isles‘ motto is to “get the crowd moving” and I’m sure they succeeded in doing so the previous night at the Biltmore in Vancouver, but the “crowd” at the pub wasn’t in much of a “moving” mood, sadly.  Regardless of our lameness, the four-piece pounded a half hour set of dance rock in the vein of Joan Jett, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Pretenders.  The set highlights for myself was their cover of Gold Lion by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and I managed to win their EP (which can be found here) for naming the tune, and also their tune Zodiac.

Next up were the brother-and-sister fronted Violent Kin.  The four-piece came out rocking and picked up where the Fortunate Isles left off.  They too fell victim to the technical difficulties, unfortunately, but where the sound lagged, they made up for it with witty banter and an experienced stage presence.  The music was pretty darn good too: the Kin whipped out hits such as Wolf, Living for the Future, and Almost Innocent.  They even coaxed a few people to the front of the stage to shimmy before their set was through.

I was impressed with Violent Kin‘s stage presence and have a feeling this is a band you will be hearing about more and more.  I’d also be curious to see them perform with proper sound “conditions”, which is no fault of their own.

The lovely and talented 6-piece mini-orchestra known as Sidney York was quick to take the stage at last, but not least.  In typical band geek form, the stage was littered with instruments you wouldn’t expect to see at an indie rock show: an oboe, bassoon, ukulele, and french horn.  The band opened with the brooding minor key track Tea As It Should Be and didn’t look back.

The technical difficulties were only noticeable during a mic switch where the vocals got a little lost in the mix, but otherwise the set was solid.  Sidney York played nearly the entire Apocalyptic Radio Cynic album—with the exception to Adrian—including hits Dick and Jane, and Cold In Here, and tossed in a tune from her previous album, which I didn’t catch the name of.  A personal highlight of their set came halfway through when the boys in the band took a seat and left the three girls on stage to play a stripped down version of Go Home, Atticus Jones.  The entire set was solid and I am already anticipating the next Sidney York show in Abbotsford.

It was a special evening for me.  A little cathartic, even, to see these bands—Sidney York in particular—play a show in my hometown that doesn’t host a lot of good shows.  I’m hoping this night is the beautiful beginning to a music scene makeover in Abbotsford.

Thanks to the Fortunate Isles, Violent Kin, Sidney York, and Brad at Aftermath Social House for putting this show on for us lucky few who saw it. I can sincerely say please come back soon!  I only wish we could have packed that bar with more fans for you guys, you deserved it.

Violent Kin


~ by DR on March 11, 2012.

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