This night of intimately-played acoustic numbers was proof that big stages and big names don’t always make for the best gigs. Tucked away on Abbott Street in Gastown is a little boutique called Nouvelle Nouvelle that chose to clear the floor once store hours were up to host some hearty tunes from a group of fine musicians. Considering the setting,the gig seemed a bit ramshackle and thrown together, but everyone involved pulled the night off with a flair that made me glad to have been there.
Andy Dixon of Secret Mommy, as well as many other musical meanderings, opened the night with a set seated in front of his laptop with a guitar player by his side [Editors Note: Unbeknownst to the reviewer, this was me!) . The guitarist strummed low-key notes while Dixon made crazy eyes into his computer and preceded to turn those strums into a chattering, stuttering and stretched-out soundscape. It was art which unfolded in your ears; it was unnervingly beautiful and trippy.
Portland, Oregon’s Attica! Attica!, aka Aaron Scott, was next and he banged out a few guitar tunes to loosen us up. His folky music reminded me a bit of the Mountain Goats, but not just because he played a Mountain Goats cover a couple of songs in. To cap off his set, Scott stepped away from the mic and laid down his guitar to sing a heartfelt a cappella song that sounded like a prospector’s lament. Good stuff!
Third to take stage was Ghost Robot Ninja Bear, born Oscar Albis Rodriguez, a fun little fast-paced acoustic guitar guy from Brooklyn, New York. Though not earth shatteringly memorable, people liked his energetic songs.
Andrew Lee from In Medias Res’ set as General Wolfe was totally enjoyable. Armed with a pedal steel guitar and a fine voice, Lee created a couple of songs that came at you like a lazy, warm wave. I love this kind of layered and heavily fed back music. It makes me want to close my eyes and watch the movies in my head.
Playing us out was the ever-goodhearted Shaunn Watt, who also plays in locals Red Cedar and Siskiyou when he’s not performing solo. I’ve always enjoyed Watts’ gentle songs about love, nature and other pretty things, and this evening was no exception. It’s nice that some gigs don’t have to be all about flash pots and props. There was an amp and some feedback, and there were people drinking drinks, but this was a different kind of gig. It was more like a house party with bands playing, but minus the screaming and broken stuff. The music was top notch and the people playing it all created something rather unique and memorable. Vancouver needs more of these kinds of gigs.