On the eve of my champagne birthday, I made my usual way down to the Railway Club. Entering the door, I was greeted by the catchy tunes of Shane Turner Overdrive. This three-piece pop outfit presented a tight, clean sound with Shane Turner from the Choir Practice and his guitar at the helm. It turned out Shane wrote the songs specially for this performance, a true testament to the spirit of Shindig. These fresh tunes were accompanied by bass and drums, forming a trio that played with ease and finesse. Shane’s Death Cab-esque vocals spun melodies well-served by the backing musicians, leaving his solo tunes a tad lonely. As a Winnipegger, the BTO reference was comfortingly familiar, but also unfortunate.
Next up was Barcelona Chair, a guitar-violin duo who created instrumental soundscapes. Using distortion and effects, they produced washes of sound with strings and bow, assisted occasionally by pre-recorded vocals, ticks and beats. The songs were intriguing and well planned, with deliberate arcs and waves but slightly abrupt endings. While the guitarist exploited a full range of sounds, the violinist played most conventionally, contributing minimally to the overall effect despite the enormous potential of the violin. Smoother transitions and additional instruments would have definitely added to the set.
My birthday arrived to the head-banging girl rock of sassy femmes Deaf to Shouting. These black-haired, mane-tossing women played their way through a set of derivative, yet entertaining numbers. This performance produced no surprises, except for the thrash metal Nirvana cover. It is unfortunate when a cover song sticks out as the most memorable part of the set.
I toasted my champagne glass to the deserved winner, Shane Turner Overdrive, and will see you next week at Shindig.