Vancouver Supernova Finals, Wise Hall, Vancouver – Jan 29 2010, Show Review
by Jade Sperry
It’s Friday in the rainy city of Vancouver and I’m off to photograph Supernova.com’s Battle of the Bands Finals. I arrived at Wise Hall and met with one of the co-ordinators, Vanessa. I then set about taking test shots of the hall in general to test lighting and shades.
The first act was a solo by Johnny Good. I found that he is a good guitarist and has excellent melodies to his songs. Johnny’s music reminded me of mellow folk music with a bite to the lyrics. I found his voice to be strong and full of emotion. It was definitely a good start to the night.
The next act, This Means Nothing in Mexico, were a trio of young men probably still in high school. But looks and youth can be deceiving. I found their songs to have really good tempo and chord changes. Judging by the reaction of the crowd, they definitely have a fanbase. I also found them all to be entertaining and their personalities seem to mesh well with being onstage.
Decognition took the stage next. This was a high energy band with fast guitar riffs and a solid steady rhythm throughout each song of their short set. I also found that they have good stage presence and this will serve them well in the future.
High Life Scenery were next. I really got into the music of this band. Even though all the band members are teenagers, I didn’t think that about their music. Solid chord progressions, good melodies and high energy really took the crowd to another level. At first, they seemed surprised by the reaction they received, but then really got into the show. What struck me the most was how polite they were onstage, thanking the crowd for coming out and thanking the Supernova.com people.
Red Couch Lounge came on next, and instantly reminded me of of a mix of Rage Against The Machine and Wolfmother. Funky guitar and bass grooves mixed with pop sensibility were the highlight of every song. The young man who played bass blew this writer away with his root chords and just how well he can play a bass. Mind-blowing. This band has excellent rhythm to every song with very good guitar chord progression and melodies. The singer has a very good voice and this band could very easily take it the next level if they chose to.
The next band that came onstage was Jive Talk. I loved their initial outfits onstage. Pink fur jackets with dark shades on as well as the korean drummer and the police guitarist! I knew that this was going to be a good set just based on that. I was happy to hear that they also have really well placed funky grooves as the bass player was right on the money with every song. This band can pretty much do it all – excellent chord changes and progressions, really fast tempo changes and very high energy onstage is what a band is all about. I really enjoyed a sax player onstage, and this young man can certainly play with the best of them.
Bridges and Breakdowns hit the stage next with their heavy guitars and solid chord progressions. The singer had a very big personality which really set the crowd off into a frenzy. The crowd really got into this band’s set. As a collective, this band oozes with high energy that you can actually feel. That is hard to get across in any setting but they manged that without much effort. The melodies of the songs are well constructed and each member plays with enthusiasm in each song.
Soldat came on after, and this was a solid band hands down. The singer really knows how to sing and he can push it in any direction he chooses to go into. The drummer hit the skins hard which gave all the songs a fantastic backbone to work from. Add the bass into that and you have a phenomenal rhythm section. The bass player was hard on the strings but that worked well with the hard hitting drummer. Every song had very good chord progressions and the root chord rhythms just worked so well into what the guitarists were doing.
The Colombians were a good band but I wondered why they set up their own drums when no other band did that. Regardless, I was surprised by their raw sound. Solid rhythms, good vocal work and high energy made this band sound great. The drummer hit the skins hard and the bass followed the drummer in perfect time. The lead singer has very strong vocal chords and I really got into the sound of his voice. All members had great stage presence, and I liked how this band was encouraging the audience to participate with them.
Next up was the band Columbia. Most bands had a set of 4-5 songs while this band only had 3 songs. Regardless of that, I found that they played extremely well despite a small crowd and short set. Columbia used that small space of time to hit up the crowd with solid guitar chords from Richard and Jason. Each song was played in time and in tune with a lot of energy. This band really has found its members and they all click onstage and off. Columbia’s songs are well executed, well constructed and have a lot to say to everyone. They were happy to be there, and found that their fans who can’t make it into clubs because of age were there and they were interacting with them. That was great to see.
At that point, I had been in Wise Hall for just over 6 hours and I really needed to eat some kind of meal. Since they were only selling snack food, I left to get something to eat and call it a night. Although I didn’t speak to most of the bands because of time constraints on photography, I overheard many conversations of the guys in the bands with their friends, and it was all about being excited, playing a set to people who’ve never seen these bands and that was the vibe for most of the evening – EXCITEMENT.
As of this writing, Columbia were the winners of this phase of the contest. I can only wish them well in their future endeavors, and I hope to join their ride with them in their first cross Canada tour starting in March 2010.
And finally, Corina at Supernova.com posted a review of the winners, and you can see a picture of Richard Jacquard from Columbia that I took. So I would like to say a big thank you to the folks at Supernova.com – Vanessa and Corina in particular. Cheers!