There’s something about East Van house shows and summer nights. That feeling you get when the sun slowly disappears over the length of a living room set is a pretty intoxicating experience. The Orchard house, and its tiny living room in East Van, played host to a combination farewell party and record release show.
Haiku Charlie have grown immensely since I saw them last which, at three years ago, is understandable. Local folk/pop orchestrator Carly Ramsey has an ensemble cast of musicians including Selina Crammond (drums) and Jessica Wilkin (keys, flute, melodica) and particularly in the case of bassist Caitlin Gilroy, their combined talents help Haiku Charlie immensely. Songs with not-quite-loud-enough lyrics threatened to be too sweet to handle with soft vocals, flutes, and melodica harmonies, but were played just slow enough to breathe fresh life into the shy indie-pop melodies.
Selkies, Vancouverites Juliann Nelson (guitar) and Jessica Wilkin (bansuri flute) played warm, ethereal siren songs. Each quiet soliloquy felt like it was inviting the audience to shipwreck on golden fields, and it was hard to ditch the image of dangerous beauty as Selkies’ set felt designed to tug at the heart-strings. Wilkin’s flute added rich harmony to otherwise sparse folk instrumentation, even though it seemed at times to be added almost improvisationally into the songs.
Selkies were saying goodbye to Wilkin, who was moving to Toronto, and so it was with more than a little melancholy that Nelson played for encore a song she had been practicing by herself. Seeing Wilkin on the sidelines watching Selkies transform into a solo performance was heartbreaking and natural at the same time.