Fresh back at the Electric Owl after a six-week tour of Eastern Canada and the USA, I spoke with Jamison, lead singer and guitarist of Teen Daze on November 9, before he went on stage. We watched the drummer of Teen Daze open with his solo act, Camp Counselors.
The drummer grooved with his shoes off behind a keyboard and synth-kit, at ease in a plaid shirt, Docksiders unlaced on stage beside him. People began to file in through the doors, forming a line in front of the stage, swaying softly to the undercut of bass and haunting melody of synthesized xylophone.
After Camp Counselors’ set, Jamison took the stage, wearing a worn-in pastel T-shirt, an orange blown-out Polaroid of his cat perched on a windowsill cello-taped to his SG. They open with “Tundra,” off their October release, Glacier. The melody is reminiscent of eight-bit video games — afternoons spent in the basement of childhood friends. Jamison’s voice cut above, relaxed against the spaceship rhythm. “By Love” came after, an instrumental track calling to mind past summer afternoons and the scent of fresh-cut lawns.
The crowd swayed close to the stage, drawn together as “By Love” blended into “Listen,” an upbeat anthem like the slow buildup of June humidity. Jamison’s voice filled in the gaps between the guitar and synth, a wistful legato high over the laid-back percussion. The band took a reprieve for the next three songs, slowing it down with an introspective, dewy track, “New Life,” the first off their album, The Inner Mansions.
Jamison asked the audience, “How do I get closer? / What do I disappear?” We listened and felt the rain gather on a misted window. The song ended, vocals looped over themselves, and language faded to phonetic snapshots. Teen Daze closed with “Ice On the Windowsill,” a light-blue track of the spring thaw. The band left the stage after a brief thanks to friends and family, tired and glad to be home.
The crowd cheered, and after a few minutes they came back onstage for a final time. Jamison smiled, thanking the crowd again for, “literally the second encore we’ve ever been asked to do.” Thrilled for one more song, everyone moved in closer. Like tie-dye stains on brown sun-tanned hands, Kodachrome snapshots of backyard hammocks, sun-drunk in Adirondack chairs as the sun drops; first loves never kissed and broken flip-flops walking home from the beach.
Teen Daze is everything great and faded and gone that we carry with us — the colour that keeps the damp of November at bay. The sound is immediate; it strikes close to our northwest hearts. Remembering, we walked out onto Main Street and met the blustery wind.