Tonight marked the Bourbon’s first “big” event since it decided to compete in the struggling Vancouver live music venue racket. And while the show was scheduled for an early start, many keen punters were forced to wait in line for over an hour only to arrive to gig that was poorly organized and falling way behind schedule.
So to a minor belch of fanfare, the elfin and slightly bewildered MGMT took to the stage and wasted little time getting their premier single, “Time to Pretend” out of the way. What followed that initial burst of joy was an extended gap of unnecessary guitar and effect wankery, climaxing with a few new numbers.
(A big thank you to Animal Collective for starting this annoying and self-serving trend of showcasing embryonic material that few fans are actually familiar with—let alone when the band in question has just released its debut album.)
And though a good chunk of MGMT’s brand new Oracular Spectacular LP was incorporated into the set, the only memorable highlight was the guilt pleasing “Electric Feel,” which is probably bound for some iPod commercial in the near future.
As for Yeasayer, the Brooklyn troupe of world-beatish hipster hippies seemed a bit out of sorts, which was likely due to an earlier run-in with Canadian customs. Apparently having been accused of being a threat to national security, or general up-to-no goodness, the band seemed less than thrilled to have been hassled by the Man at our country’s impenetrable outpost. (May I suggest a sharp haircut and a more amicable attitude next time, gents?) Anyway, playing the sort of freak-funk noodling you’d expect from mostly white dudes diggin’ on Fela Kuti and hangin’ with Gogol Bordello, Yeasayer was a bit too much “lost in the vibe” to offer any quality substance. And even though songs like “2080” and “Wait for the Summer” are, for the time being at least, pretty great, it’s hard to shake the band’s whole anti-anti-fashionable, trippy troubadour production.
So for the Bourbon’s debut into the lucrative world of indie rock shows, it didn’t do so badly as a venue after all. While it’s still inexcusable for this dump to expect any patron to wait outside for any longer than five minutes, you’ve got to give the management some cheers for attempting to bring a new live music venue to this deprived city. Thanks for stepping up. I’m sure we’ll be seeing your demise shortly.