Somebody Language // Bye Bye Blue

And we’re back on the blog. I hope the holiday seasons treated you fairly: I hope you’re bank account is okay, and your stomach is a bit fuller, and your heart is warm.

For me, time off meant more music…

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Madilyn Jantz and Mario Lagassé play nice together

Bye Bye Blue

These guys are a newer band, I think. I haven’t seen them play before at least. They played the New Years Eve show at the Handsome Daughter for Real Love Winnipeg, alongside Lucas Roger Band and Somebody Language.

Alright I just creeped their Facebook page and they’ve been playing since summer. Sounds like they’ve been in the studio, too!

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it’d be good because I know I like Madi’s stuff, and I’ve heard great things about Mario. I mean I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him play in other bands? Anyway, this performance caught off me off-guard in a good way.

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They’re a band of six. Up to three guitarists, always one keys player and the rhythm section holdin’ it down (as usual.)

Bye Bye Blue is a pretty big band. It was neat seeing them fit onto the little stage at the Daughter. I noticed they had a couple keys players. You can see above the keys player, and someone sitting behind him, who is also playing keys.

This made for a seriously layered listening experience. There was a lot going on in each song, according to my eyes. My ears didn’t find it sounding too busy, though. The keys parts (is one a synth and one keys? what are instruments?) layered nicely with each other, each adding their own tone but keeping it clean, keeping it focused on the overall sound instead of each individual player.

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Erica Flaten plays music 

They played a few pretty damn funky songs. Songs that got me moving. These songs are what caught me off guard. I didn’t expect a bunch of jazzy style funky fun grooves that moved my hips for me. I mean, I didn’t expect anything, but I know Madi’s voice and writing style and usually there’s a lot of slow feels and gentle intensity in her music. And I love that. And Bye Bye Blue brought that, too. They actually got pretty weird at some points, slowing things down, getting almost sad, almost angry feelings out. Getting deliberate and gradual with their instruments. Getting real.

But that contrasted well with their few dancey, funky songs. I mean, is funky the right word? Maybe someone from the band can weigh in. I looked over at a friend at one point and said, “man these guys are good!”, which is quite a statement for me to make after three songs from a band.

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I’ve been shooting in black and white because of Dave and Buio and low, colourful lighting and it’s fun and moody af sometimes

The bar was packed that night. I’ve never seen the Daughter so full. Everyone seemed into Bye Bye Blue, too. They moved toward the stage, people filled the floor back to the sound booth and the bar. Bye Bye Blue kept everyone’s attention.

Their music wasn’t terribly complex, despite having six musicians on stage. I think they’re going the route of balancing complexity and simplicity in a way that’ll let whole songs shine, instead of specific musicians, or that’ll produce gentle grooves that carry you along with supple cupped hands, instead of complicated changing rhythms that tug and drag and grasp with kinetic energy.

Looking forward to seeing them again.

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Ben Figler. I really wanted this photo to be in colour, because his EYES MAN HIS  EYES AND THAT SHIRT AND HOLY DAMN SO BLUE but the lights at the Daughter were like magenta as fuck and it fucked me right up.

Somebody Language

So this, this show made New Years Eve actually a special event.

I’m of the mind that the Gregorian calendar isn’t the only thing that measures time and a new year is really just like, a seasonal thing, and the reason to party is just another reason to party and I actually celebrate new years at Folk Fest. BUT

Knowing I’d have a chance to see Somebody Language play made it special. Ben’s been living in Calgary with his (newly) fiance while she studies and we haven’t seen him in months. And he came back. And played a show on this awesome night where people were just ready to go.

And he didn’t disappoint.

 

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what an ensemble

Seeing this arrangement of musicians on stage delighted my heart / reassured my mind. I’ve been listening to the Somebody Language track on Beach Station Blues for the past month like every single goddam day. It’s so gutsy, so toned, so dark yet beautiful and encouraging. It’s kinda fuckin’ weird and I really love it.

So when I started to see these guys play that night, I got pretty excited. Ben seemed a bit nervous the whole time. I felt for the guy — performance seems nerve-wracking. Especially when you come into the city like a week before and it’s holidays so you’ve gotta do family stuff and everyone else is busy and you still somehow have to get four other people to know your songs well enough to play.

Apparently they practiced like 30 hours in the past week.

Kudos guys. Thank you for that. I think it led to a great show. Micah and Corey and Adam were smiling like kids on Christmas morning the whole time. So much eye contact exchanged between this group. Eye contact, and smiles. and then Ben, leading the force of sound, waving his hands around and singing and letting the music flow through.

 

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that’s a tuning

I found the songs to be what I expected (since I knew a few). The first time I saw Somebody Language, about a year ago, I admit I wasn’t really impressed. It was like, oh, yeah, another bunch of dudes playing music, yes, Gimli, okay.

But since the last release of Beach Station Blues, I’ve been hooked on Ben’s voice. Just the gut, the way he sings, the things he sings about. His songwriting. It’s incredible to me. He gets into the heart and gut of some serious life experiences. The song Fall Into Make Believe ran my life for like two months last winter. So relatable. Kept thinking about my current situation at that time, falling in love with my (now ex) boyfriend, feeling he was key to my coming into adulthood…

 

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good use of hands man

 

His voice grabbed me in that song. The gut. The feel. The lines… “And if I want to grow up / if I want to grow up / I’m gonna need you” with the grit in the back of this throat, what I imagine tastes like Jim Beam and Export A Reds, just wrenches me into the melody.

And again, on Best Friends. That grit. Even more on Best Friends! Because it’s got the haunting backing track, and much more heavy singing, and an overall more shadowy tone. So good. Personally, I had a rough Christmas. Wasn’t easy for my family. I went out Christmas night to my friend’s place for a movie night, to take a little break from the home life, and couldn’t help but cry on the drive over. Crying and singing along to Ben. I don’t know if that’s weird Ben, but dude, this song helped me release so many difficult emotions in that moment. Helped me move through my own pain. Thanks for that.

 

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This is the only guy I don’t know?

 

Back to the show.

The bar was still pretty nuts at that point, but things started to calm down after Ben announced his engagement. I watched as the guys on stage got into it throughout the set. I feel like Micah and Corey were having a grand ol’ time the whole time along. But I think I watched Ben seriously relax throughout the show. I loved when he finally let loose and I could hear that grit come through in his voice. You can see Ben get lost in what he’s doing on stage, which to me, is great. Because that’s what I wanna do when I’m on the floor, in the audience. I wanna get lost in the experience. And y’know, monkey see, monkey do. It’s great to have that guide creating the experience for you.

 

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Ben gets into it

Someone remarked to me during the show that it was pretty close to having Little House on stage. And it reminded me, of course, that these guys are nearly all brothers. I mean, they’ve been playing together for quite some time. And you can see that chemistry come through. Micah was diggin’ his new strat hardcore. Corey seemed to been having a goofy fun time. And Solly, on the other side of the stage, kept engaged through a bunch of glances and smiles and playing his wicked guitar.

Overall, great show. Can’t wait to see both bands again. Next time I sort of hope Ben’s feeling a bit more liberal with the belting it and letting his voice run loose.

 

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smiles

 

 

 

 

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