Real Live Action


with Citizen Hands, the Hot Moonbeams & Crystal Swells, November 23 @ Railway Club

Review By Scott Mason

Another night of Shindig began this Tuesday at the Railway Club. It was definitely a nice place to get away from the biting cold! Not as big a turnout as last week but the crowd was warm and receptive and still told bad jokes at the joke break in between sets.

The first band was three-piece Citizen Hands. When Andrew Lee’s slide steel guitar encountered some technical difficulties he laughed some profanity into the mic and began the performance. Sitting down behind his guitar in a fur hat they looked very ornery (everyone wearing fur actually) playing their heartbroken alt rock. Lee sang like an old frontier man, the music drawing bleak images of the Prairies. When he ditched the slide steel for the guitar the music took a more rock oriented direction. Instead of the crying of the slide steel there were percussive strikes on the guitar which was like light to their dark sound. They banged through their set with the drummer emphatically banging on his skins clearly enjoying the hell out himself. But their sound eventually grew tired as they grew closer to the end of their set which each song sounding similar to the last one. Citizen Hands thanked the crowd and were off.

The second act was the Hot Moonbeams, a group of young gentlemen from Langley. Their guitar-based songs have a classic sound on first listen. Upbeat and optimistic, their poppy tunes are reminiscent of such bands as the Replacements and Pavement. Each member of the band liked to sing with the guitarists and bass guitarists constantly switching their instruments to accommodate the guy who is on the mic next. Drummer Tim Ubels did a good job of singing from the drum stool. Keeping the fare light, they laughed and joked, looking and sounding like a band that is truly enjoying themselves.

Crystal Swells is a three piece noise/punk band that takes after Fugazi, making dark and loud music. They play with a ferocity that is met with a touch of surf psychedelia. The mustachioed guitarist growled unrecognizable lyrics from underneath his low toque. The tall bassist made for a physically imposing force on stage swinging his bass around unpredictably and shuffling his feet all the while keeping his eyes glued to the ground. Fast paced songs with cataclysmic endings made way for eerie noise jams like the one that took place in the middle of the set. For about six minutes they churned threw a dark song that had the crowd enraptured. With the simplest drum beat the crowd watched, waiting and interested to see where the dark road would take them. It dragged on a bit, but was a fresh take on their sound.

All in all, another fun night at CiTR Shindig 2010, three good bands, how will they decide? Go to the finals to find out!

[ed. Crystal Swells were the winners of this night and made it through to the finals.]