The best of Canadian shoegaze takes the stage at Warehouse

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Warehouse is a venue that knows how to deliver: their headliners are always a must see, and their supporting acts are perfectly chosen to fit the mood. Such was the case on October 17, when local band Know were supported by Peach Pit and Mason Vail.

The evening began with the dream-pop stylings of The Mason Vail Project, fronted by, you’ll never guess, Mason Vail, from St. Catharines. There’s a captivating weirdness to Mason’s stage presence that set a tone for the evening. His lanky frame weaves and dances around the complicated rhythms and catchy riffs of his music, and his absurd lyrics and unorthodox crooning make a great pairing. His rhythm guitar playing is complimented by his effects-laden lead guitarist, providing everything from dense melodies to sprawling, ambient slide guitar. The band doesn’t rock as loudly as some other acts, but that’s not their intention; The Mason Vail Project creates an atmosphere through his setlist, and the thrill of his performance is sinking into that atmosphere. Mason told the audience that his first song was about dreams; rather fittingly, the rest of his performance felt like a strange, lucid dream. A brilliant start to the evening.

Sandwiched between Mason Vail and Know was my personal highlight of the evening, Vancouver’s Peach Pit. Even as they walk on stage they make an impression; each member of the band looks like they’ve strolled out of a different decade. Their music is similarly somewhat timeless, combining the vibes of 50’s surf bands with contemporary teen angst and a hipster aesthetic. Their recorded tracks are a little more laid back, but when they’re performed live, the grooves get a little deeper and the riffs rock a lot harder. It’s also clear that the band are having a great time; their guitarist jumps up and down the stage without missing a single note. The frontman shows off his unique style of dance throughout the set. And that’s to say nothing of the sheer talent of the group, particularly the lead guitarist, who can turn on a dime from complicated chords to intricate, almost jazz-sounding lead lines at the drop of a hat. His playing is good enough even to distract from his Ned Flanders moustache. Peach Pit’s setlist covers all the bases, from the slow, deep groove of their self-titled “Peach Pit”, to the explosive solo in “Sweet FA”, to the sharpness of “Drop the Guillotine”. It’s easy to forget you’re in Warehouse; Peach Pit’s songwriting and energy feels like it could fill stadiums.

Headlining the evening were Know, a St. Catharines group soon to be headed out to Vancouver to work on a new project. Know’s style leans heavily into the surfer vibes that have resonated throughout the evening (there’s even a ukulele in the band), and the result is a gorgeous collection of atmospheric slow burners about love, sunshine and any number of feel good topics. The band’s beautiful lead vocals are backed up by a smooth, bassline, and complimented by a luscious vocal harmony. Their lead guitarist (Noah Rastegar, formerly of the Morning Dwellers) brings a little ambience to the arrangement, filling in gaps with tasteful playing and utterly delightful chord voicings. Know’s repertoire feels like the sort of music one might play around a campfire; but rather than feel out of place at the Warehouse, they bring the campfire to you, and make the space feel like their own. It’s an astounding achievement, but the band make it seem effortless. Their set felt like a breath of fresh air; Know aren’t chasing the same dreamy vibes as Mason Vail, and they aren’t after the ecstatic thrills of Peach Pit. They bring a more earthly charm, painting soundscapes of rolling waves and beautiful sunsets instead of reaching out to the cosmos. Though they shared a surfer-like , carefree attitude, they brought a different kind of beautiful to the show, and brought the evening to a wonderful conclusion.

Each of the bands have a Facebook page for updates on upcoming concerts/events, as well a collection of songs on Bandcamp. Peach Pit’s 2017 album Being So Normal is also available on Spotify.

 

 

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