PEAK Performance Project Showcase #3 @ Red Room, Vancouver; Oct. 4, 2012

(My deepest apologies to PPP folks and the bands for the tardiness of this post. It’s been a week and a day since the 3rd showcase and little did I know how insane this last week would be; just impressed I found time to get the photos edited, let alone write this post!)

Three down, two to go.

Last Thursday—like, last LAST Thursday— was the third of five PEAK Performance Project showcases at the Red Room Ultra Bar in downtown Vancouver.  The night evening once again showcased some of BC’s richest musical talent with the likes of Alexandria Maillot, Dear Rouge, Facts, and Maurice.

Alexandria Maillot got things kicked off, and although I’d heard her song on 102.7 the Peak before, I was blown away by her vocal ability.  This 19 year-old—the youngest in the project—has got some serious pipes.  Dare I even say the strongest vocals in the entire PPP Top 20? I dare.  That statement is obviously debatable as there is a heap of talent this year, but Maillot has got to be among the top 2 or 3 in terms of sheer vocal prowess.

Alexandria’s set included her piano-rock jam Take Me Home as well as her Canadian cover which turned out to be The Band‘s The Weight.  A bold choice, but Maillot and her band made it their own and did the song some sweet, soul justice.  The highlight of her set for myself, however, was her song Did You Want To Tell Me Something.  The song took me by surprise and I quickly found myself bobbin’ to the rhythm. Probably in an embarrassing fashion, but I didn’t care. I only wish I had recorded it somehow as the song is not yet available for purchase or sampling. Sad face.

Dear Rouge were next on the docket and with the lights turned low, guitarist Drew McTaggart ventures front stage to a chorus of cheers. It was evident the ‘Rougies’ were out in full force. A technical difficulty later (Drew’s guitar would not produce noise immediately), front-woman Danielle McTaggart hit center stage in an eye-catching, sparkling sequin-studded jumpsuit, and the show was on.

Although Dear Rouge have only been a formal band for just over a year, you wouldn’t know it. It’s probably because the McTaggart husband-and-wife duo had been individually involved in their own music projects until their recent nuptials and formation of the current indie pop rock project that is Dear Rouge.  In fact, if you didn’t know it, you’d think Danielle McTaggart had been born and raised performing as it seemed to come as natural to her as breathing.

The band covered the Guess Who‘s classic No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature which got the crowd at the Red Room clapping and singing along that much more.  I’m pretty sure anyone who wasn’t a Dear Rouge supporter was converted this night.

The fabulous Facts—the sole electro-rock group in the entire 2012 Peak Performance Project—hit the stage next in complete darkness. But that darkness did not last. Well, it kind of did. Facts must’ve spent some serious coin on their light show as it was the best I’ve seen to date; therefore, money extremely well spent. Multi-coloured lasers were flying every which way and nothing but beautiful silhouettes of the band members’ heads while they rocked out to their progressive acid-trip electro-beat indie rock (does that even make sense?).

I jammed out pretty hard to their set when I wasn’t taking pictures of all the lasers, and was a little envious of anyone who was stoned in the crowd, as the combination of lasers and music would have been trippy as shit. Oh, and their droned-out synth jam cover of Sarah McLachlan‘s Ice Cream kind of put the nail in the coffin. I was converted. I am now a Facts fan. And if that wasn’t enough, Bed of Stars mastermind Evan Konrad comes on stage to belt out one of their last tunes.

Magical.

But wait – there’s more!

Lastly and never leastly, JP Maurice and company closed off the night to a sweaty, enthusiastic crowd who stuck it out til past midnight for his final set.  One particular thought crossed my mind while crouching front row trying to get decent shots of Mr. Maurice: it must be alright to be JP—he has many female fans. And they seem to like his low-cut tops and chest hair and tight white pants.  Even I was swooning a little. If you could win this PPP on sex appeal alone, this guy might take the cake. Fortunately, the contest is about music and he’s also pretty damn good at that.

Musically, Maurice was tight as ever, make musical love to everyone’s earholes with his Gibson E335 and sweet, sweet falsetto.  His cover Canadian cover of Joni Mitchell‘s Woodstock took me a little by surprise as I didn’t even realize it was a cover until the song was over. I need to brush up on my Joni Mitchell apparently.

As the evening came to a close, it’s safe to say that another successful and amazing PEAK Performance Showcase was in the books, and my uncertainty of the Top 5 finalists is as huge as ever.

Glad I’m not a judge.

-Dylan

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~ by whet_hopped on October 12, 2012.

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