Five Sixty hosted the quadruple bill of TOPS, Teen Daze, We Were Lovers, and Peace on a cold Thursday night that kept a number of people away from what could have been a packed house.
The biggest draw of the night may have been Peace, who accounted for most of the initial turnout. The boys from Edmonton brought out the Oil City ex-pats, a mini-reunion of both local bands and those who went to high school in Edmonton with TOPS singer Jane Penny.
As Peace played a set of mainly new songs off their upcoming sophomore follow-up to 2011’s My Face, the casual banter with friends in the crowd and the over-the-top reception of the band made for a loose but wicked set. The four-piece was firing on all cylinders, executing perfect rhythm within their driving, mellowed post-punk sound.
While previously Peace may be more known for flipping their car en route to Sled Island, if their show at Five Sixty indicates anything, the next album is bound to make bigger waves within Canada.
We Were Lovers began with a couple of false starts due to some drum distortion. Locating the rogue feedback after several trial-and-error sessions, Ash Lamothe and Elsa Gebremichael led a brief but efficient effort backed by an additional touring-only rhythm section.
The Saskatoon natives came armed with tunes from their self-titled debut EP as well as a couple from their upcoming debut full-length. Recent single “We’ve Got It” particularly hit well, encouraging head bobbing and bouncing from the growing crowd. We Were Lover’s brand of upbeat dance-punk was an ideal transition to the later portion of the show, splitting the difference between TOPS’ jangly guitars and Teen Daze’s four on the floor dance party.
Third on the night’s bill was Teen Daze, who’s made his live show a staple in Vancouver in the span of just a couple of years. Playing his last show before jetting off to tour Europe, the man named Jamison mixed some brand new songs with tunes off A Silent Planet. Highlights included new single “Treten”and “Brooklyn Sunburn” off the All of Us Together, which will be released in May.
Far from being a simple DJ playing from his laptop, Teen Daze was mixing and mashing to create a fluid 45 minute set that even encouraged participation in picking his final song. The appreciative crowd chose the fast one, not surprising considering no one was ready to stop dancing.
Finally, it was time for Arbutus Records darlings TOPS, whose debut album Tender Opposites has been garnering a ton of attention since its February release. The Montreal group has existed in various incarnations including Silly Kissers, Pat Jordache, and the Sugar Boys, but the four-piece was there to take part in some upbeat, synth-driven rock that evoked a mood as hazy as the Tender Opposites album cover.
With only the one full-length released, TOPS played a standard new-band set including every song on the album. The guitar lines of David Carriere drove TOPS’ sound, but Penny’s voice and melancholic synth notes lent the completeness that has generated the hype surrounding the group.
Whether driving through “Turn Your Love Around” or catching everyone’s breath with “Rings of Saturn,” TOPS controlled a set that showed nerves, but also a lot of talent. For those in attendance, it will likely be an “I was there” moment for the next time they swing through Vancouver and draw a much larger crowd.