The Fox Cabaret was surprisingly desolate on Thursday, June 25. Better known for playing host to dj nights and dance parties, Jacco Gardner had come to share his eclectic folk-psychedelic music with an intimate audience on this night, leaving the vibe of the club more on the philosophical side of things.
Starting their set on the soft side, Vancouver locals Dada Plan were the first band of the night. Slightly lacklustre unengaging, it felt like there was a thin wall separating the band from the crowd that they just couldn’t penetrate. However, these guys were dressed to impress. Three of the members were wearing Hawaiian shirts, looking like they were drunken tourists on a cruise ship, while the bassist was dressed in all-black. Strange and beautiful, you could call it.
Calvin Love was next on stage and hands down, he was the best performer of the night. Whimsical, tasteful, and funky, the combination of his music and his performance style blew everyone’s minds. Donning a silver and gold blazer, Calvin looked like the civilized love child of David Bowie and Pete Doherty. At one point, he laughed and said, “Yeah, we’re all sweating in a porn theatre together.”
Judging by the energetic dancing of the small crowd, everyone was really enjoying the show.
Love’s music sounded like rock music from the late 1980s that had been slightly modernized. Although Calvin Love was fantastic, he was a strange choice to open for Jacco Gardner, considering the latter’s mellowed out style.
And then, along came Jacco Gardner in his understated glory. Never one to demand attention, Gardner came on stage quite casually, almost like a ghost. He and his band were all wearing very casual clothing and there was nothing spectacular in the least about the visual experience of the show. The power of Gardner laid in the true foundation of the show: the music itself.
His voice was soft and non-confrontational; appealing in the same way that an old friend is. Humble and grateful, he said “thank you” after each song and continually called the audience “beautiful.” It was apparent that Gardner was doing it for the craft, not the attention. You could seamlessly get lost in the music, as it didn’t overtake you. It encapsulated you like a strong mist in the early morning.
Gardner played a healthy mix of songs from his first album and from his latest release, Hypnophobia. Witnessing him play his music and seeing first-hand the tender care that he gave to his work was somewhat of a private affair. It was an experience that had the capacity to be retrospective and reflective, like returning to a childhood spot as an adult and being flooded with memories.
As the night came to a close, the room was brimming with every feeling you could think of. The audience’s physical movements reflected this, with some people dancing, some people kissing, some people twirling, and others simply thinking and being. It was a true testament to the versatility of Gardner’s music, as well as the immense range of emotions his performance emulated.