The Wooden Sky opened to a seated audience that simmered for Timber Timbre. The band was polite about it, though — they didn’t demand cheers or applause, but earned them with their brand of twang-tinged indie psych rock.
Hailing from Toronto, The Wooden Sky was stripped down to three touring members. They played a good balance of old songs and new ones off the recently released Swimming in Strange Waters. “Black Gold” came near the beginning of their set, hinting at the political undercurrent that would later define Timber Timbre’s set. Lead vocalist Gavin Gardiner’s banter was reserved, peaking at the mention of his 6-month old niece in the audience.
Indeed, The Wooden Sky’s performance certainly had a homey and familial vibe to it. While musically The Wooden Sky were tight, they lacked the energy expected from an opener. It wasn’t memorable.
Backlit orange, Timber Timbre opened with the post-apocalyptic “Sewer Blues” from their latest Sincerely, Future Pollution. The audience swarmed the front, beginning to sway in a unison that persisted for the set. “Hot Dreams” was met with purrs and cheers, as vocalist Taylor Kirk baited the audience with a light-hearted “shhhhh, common people.” Noticeably, every mention of “babe” was replaced with “man” and “buddy.” As the song teasingly came to a close, the audience cheered and whistled in anticipation.
It was followed immediately by a newer song, “Western Questions,” with swift-moving verses addressing the politics of colonialism — “Western questions / Villages moving / The visitor sailing in / Drifters / Grifters / Spanning sifters looking for a flash in the pan / International witness protection through mass migration / The imminent surrender of land / Tucked in safety at the counter of a luxury liner with a noose in my hand.” I would argue this was the high point, when Timber Timbre transported the Vogue into a holy and wholly separate dimension. But when the song ended, the crowd clapped with some uncertainty. Just shy of a month after the release of Sincerely, Future Pollution, the audience still needed time to fall in love with the new stuff.
At some point, Kirk commented on the hushed audience, which was made even more obvious by one annoying concert-goer that demanded, “PLAY ‘DEMON HOST’” between every song. Kirk rebutted, “Stay quiet, we like you like that Vancouver city,” before playing “Do I Have Power.”
And Timber Timbre did have power, rendering the audience gleefully submissive. So submissive, in fact, that when the band left the stage, there was a painful pause before the crowd remembered to cheer them back on. When the set truly ended, Timber Timbre turned off their own amps before leaving the stage, and didn’t look back. The audience left the shelter of the Vogue, and spilled back onto the cesspool of the Granville strip.