Of all the places that were destined to fill up on this Saturday night, LanaLou’s was low on my list, not because of the bands on the bill but because the venue itself isn’t prone to walk-in traffic. Regardless, the place was packed early for Reverter’s cherry-red vinyl release show for Future You. Things sounded amazing right until the strict midnight cutoff.
Most of the times I’ve seen Safety Show I’ve been immediately drawn to their slightly-weird indie-alt-rock motif, but their performance seems to rely on the crowd for zeal, and as an opener the band felt static while the audience tried to balance energy levels. From a technical perspective, everything sounded spot-on, especially the crazy spills coming from drummer Joe Shimeld, who has to be one of Vancouver’s best percussionists. The highlight came in “Ship Of Sorrows” and its beautiful crescendo-breakdown pattern, but singer Katie Lapi looked much more comfortable behind a keyboard than she was standing at the front of the stage.
Silkworm-meets-Superchunk with a baritone guitar is probably my dream description of a band, but Reverter’s intricate syncopated guitar rhythms didn’t strike me as exceptional until their set’s midway mark. That said, when Reverter clicked, they clicked, and the tunes (mostly off of the new record), became extra-radical very quickly. There was a lot of technical, mind-boggling musicianship anchoring the trio together into and out of extended instrumental segments, and Patricia Kavanaugh’s voice has a phenomenal edge to it. Without a dedicated bassist, some songs tended towards the shrill side of the audio spectrum but Kavanaugh’s baritone mostly filled out the empty frequencies in the band’s palette. The crowded LanaLou’s was very lucky to get their last glimpse of Reverter for a while, as Kavanaugh is moving to California later in the month.
Man Your Horse are a duo that don’t seem to quit. It was just last week that Julian Marrs and Scott Petrie made it home from an extended west coast tour, and this was already their second show back in town. The weeks the two spent combing the likes of San Francisco and Los Angeles have resulted in a much tighter act than I remember, and it was serious bliss to see these dudes kill new songs and old favourites, particularly the beautiful road trip tune “Grass Baskets”.