Friday, September 18, 2009

Hey Ocean! at Telus Studio Theatre

Tonight (September 17), Hey Ocean! played at the Telus Studio Theatre at University of British Columbia's Chan Centre. The show was phenomenal as per usual.

More polished than the 3-4 previous times I've seen them... as the set was being recorded by CBC Radio 2; The beautiful albeit somewhat formal setting of the theatre must've helped as well.

The mood was somewhat subdued compared to other shows of theirs. The amount of dancing was about 87.43% less (approximately) and the cat-calls as well. Except for of course, me, who should really be carted around from show to show to make loud noises when it is lacking.

David Beckingham, the guitarist, even mentioned that it was a huge change from playing bars on their tour, to a quiet (but really appreciative) audience in their hometown.

Ashleigh Ball was in top form tonight, lilting her playful voice high and low, spitting rhymes interspersed in their West Coast-inspired set harder, better, faster, stronger. (thought I'd use a more positive Kanye reference.) Her family was in the audience cheering her along, as well as at least one member of local band Said The Whale, whom can be expected to be at any given show in Vancouver.

Hey Ocean! played hits from both their debut Stop Looking Like Music and their sophomore album It's Easier To Be Somebody Else. Their set was also interspersed with new material for their upcoming album, which is still in the process of being written.

Particular favourites from the set for myself included Uh Oh, a new song which I've heard live a couple of times, which is a catchy tune that references hipsters and the infamous Adbusters article about them (or us?). 15 Words is great when Beckingham is sober enough to get the riff right, which was the case tonight. Bicycle is a stripped down little ditty about love and love lost. Beatboxer is always fun and infectious, and Jolene had fantastic harmonies. (Is this the same Jolene who also haunts Jeremy Fisher?)

Another point of note is the new drummer. They've got one, at least temporarily. The last time I spoke with bassist Dave Vertesi (also of local band Topless Gay Love Tekno Party) he had mentioned that this one has promise, and is currently their touring drummer. Unfortunately, I didn't catch his name, but he seemed quite in sync with the rest of the members. After showing off his chops in an extended drum solo, he also proved that he can match the rest of the formidable band in terms of musical skill. This is important, as the biggest draw to Hey Ocean!, besides Ashleigh Ball's captivating presence and singular voice, is the driving and diverse rhythms that compels shoulders to sway and feet to dance. Here's hoping the band will find that percussive match soon, if they have not already found it in this current drummer.

Hey Ocean! is coming to a city near you! Below are some upcoming tour dates, including a stint in the United States. (Playing with Joel Plaskett in Pop Montreal?! Nicely done! Stacked show.)

18 Sep 2009
The Gateway
Calgary, AB
19 Sep 2009
Louis’ Pub
Saskatoon, SK
20 Sep 2009
WCMA Awards
Brandon, MB
23 Sep 2009
Phog Lounge
Windsor, ON
24 Sep 2009
Call the Office (All Ages)
London, ON
25 Sep 2009
The Bombshelter Pub - U of W
Waterloo, ON
26 Sep 2009
Paddy Flaherty’s
Sarnia, ON
29 Sep 2009
Algonquin College
Ottawa, ON
30 Sep 2009
The Ale House w/ Joel Plaskett
Kingston, ON
1 Oct 2009
Club Soda w/ Joel Plaskett (Pop Montreal)
Montreal, QC
2 Oct 2009
Blacksheep Inn
Wakefield, QC
3 Oct 2009
Montreal House
Peterborough, ON
7 Oct 2009
M Room (Manhattan Room)
Philadelphia, PA
8 Oct 2009
Piano’s (10 PM)
New York, NY
14 Oct 2009
M Room
Philadelphia, PA
15 Oct 2009
New York, NY
17 Oct 2009
The Rivoli
Toronto, ON
21 Oct 2009
M Room
Philadelphia, PA
26 Oct 2009
Uptown Bar
Minneapolis, MN
7 Nov 2009
Portland, OR