The stage of the dark lit and carpeted basement of the Waldorf Hotel was first occupied by the Vancouver bred three-piece new wave/post-punk band Girlfriends & Boyfriends. Their sound is an arm cannon away from a Mega Man boss battle scene circa 1987. Fueled by the most delicious aspects of ‘80s glam rock, the band produced bass-heavy sounds bow-tied in glossy ribbons of synth and hair-volumizing guitar solos that screamed from Pete Panovic’s Flying V. The set was short but impressive, a must-see amongst the Vancouver music scene.
When Nucular Aminals had finished modestly setting up their gear, nothing more than an assertive nod to the DJ and a couple shyly strummed chords cued the stark change in mood and tempo. Slowly, a dark and growling bass emerged, along with a dissonant and disorienting collection of sharp, twanging guitar and crooning vocals. Disregarding the audience, the band appeared to be playing their overly raw and anxious music to each other, punishing the passively accepting crowd with their deeply emotional and slightly disturbing sound. In passing, a pleasant “thank you” was given to the Waldorf.
DJ Tyler Fedchuk quickly engaged the clutch and threw down a thick industrial dance set, cleansing the palette and dissolving any residue left over from the somewhat “out of place” sound of Nucular Aminals.
Los Angeles’ Jeremy Jay took to the stage next, along with his band, and proceeded to move the crowd with chill summer jams. The band shared the stage with beautiful chemistry, providing each individual with a clean, strong presence, which created a sound that was both familiar and unique. The balance was exposed elegantly during the bands performance of their single “Caught In A Whirl,” where the threading of Jay’s focused and bouncy guitar licks, weaving in and out of the contrasting rigid drum beats and melodic, rhythmic bass lines allowed the soft synth lines to rise from the swell as a floating firework that hangs colourfully and hauntingly in the air.
Their music almost takes you by the hand, away from the torrential rainstorm that is Vancouver, and into a sunny bike ride through a palm tree-clad Los Angeles Beach Avenue enveloped in summery swagger; a place haunted by synth ghosts. Jay’s original and internally diverse sound is widely accepted, and is an excellent inspiration for even the most left footed of feet.