Some nights in Winnipeg prove to be problematic for me. Like tonight, where I’ll have to choose between Silence Kit, Sam Singer and Grotoko at the Good Will, Lev Snowe, Holy Void and Skye Callow at the Daughter, and my ticket to Royal Canoe and Living Hour.
I had this issue last Friday night too, but it wound up working out for the best.
I saw Micah Visser for the release of his new EP “forward,” with Adam Hanney & Co. Then I scooted over to the Good Will for Odd Outfit and The Dirty Catfish Brass Band.
Adam Hanney & Co. are one of Winnipeg’s many great indie bands. I first met Adam at Adam Fuhr’s (of Yes We Mystic’s) birthday party. He willingly joined us on a drunken Pokehunt at The Forks. Shortly after I saw him play for the first time at Shine On.
I liked them even more the second time around.
It’s not complicated music, but they write upbeat, nostalgic melodies that pull you in. Adam’s voice does the trick for me. It sounds like syrup straight from his heart, sweetening the tunes carried by guitars and synth. You can see him uncork on stage, pouring forth. It looks like sheer enjoyment, the kind that I get pre-emptive nostalgia during, where each moment whispers “I’ll be gone too soon.”
I mean, you can really tell they have fun on stage. And if there’s anything that makes me enjoy myself, it’s seeing performers enjoy themselves.
The floor was full. The West End Cultural Centre (WECC) is a great venue because they’ve got a perfect mix of seating and floor space. The floor could probably hold 100 people, max, with tables and chairs around and an upper balcony with seating. You can walk right up to the stage. Beautiful venue.
Jordan Cayer, the keys and bass guy, really enjoyed himself too. Hell, they all did. They play a tight set. The rhythm section holds clean. Keeping in line with the name of the band, Cayer and drummer Mike Dunn offer a solid bed of rhythmic harmony that lulls along with Hanney’s bright voice.
As I write this, I’m listening to their EP 12/12 and I have to say, I prefer them live. Their sound is almost exactly the same, but the studio recordings have a polish that doesn’t add nor detract. Seeing them live, though, provides a momentum that lifts my heart and puts a colourful haze over my feelings.
Their song (which I now know is called Thirds) has some nice “woa-aoh oh” parts that I love singing along to. Also, Adam’s got sick style and I’d probably run my hand through his hair if I had the chance. Bonus points for length.
I hadn’t listened to Micah Visser in years. The last time I saw him was at Sam’s Place on Henderson in 2013. A mutual friend from high school invited me out. I think it was his very first show.
Then he was standing alone with a guitar and a mic stand. Now Micah had a whole band.
Micah Visser plays a dreamy indie pop. I noticed a heavy synth influence that felt disco to me. His voice leads the light melodies and invokes my sentimental side. I’m reminded of nights in the eighth grade messaging my crush on MSN, tersely enjoying and reviling my own hopeless romantic side. Or of days in spring spent wandering Wolseley, avoiding my homework and hoping to run into a distant friend.
The crowd loved it. Nearly everyone stood. Photographers pushed their way to the front (myself included), while others ran around the side of the stage for video shots. There were people of all ages, though the young crowd dominated the dance floor. I saw a number of people I recognized from around Winnipeg, which isn’t new, as I’m sure you know…
Micah’s easy-going, upbeat and sickly sweet melodies kept my smile a touch bittersweet. I’m the kind with hurt inside anyway, so listening to lovely indie pop brings a certain enjoyment to my own being-constantly-at-odds-with-reality.
I wasn’t able to stay the whole time, which was okay. I’m personally not a huge disco person, so the synth overlays washed things out for me a bit.
Micah is a strong performer, dancing around and often folding his apparently now very tall form into all sorts of shapes along with the groove. If there’s anything that pulls me into a concert, even one that doesn’t quite do it for me musically, it’s watching someone love what they do. Good performance makes a huge difference.
Then I ran off to the Good Will for Odd Outfit, one of my favourite local bands, that I’ve seen only once before. I learned that night that their trumpet player is indeed Jordan Hart.