Sunday, October 18, 2009

Concert Review : Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees & Dragonette

(First of all: wow. Electro-dance music live. So much better than the recorded stuff. The show last night was a great continuation after seeing Champion and His G-Strings at Rifflandia.)

Now I admit up front I knew neither Dragonette nor Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees well going in to the concert and had little to no expectations. Rebekah Higgs of Ruby Jean is mentioned quite frequently on NxEW, so I assumed good things. A friend had invited me to the concert last minute and he's quite familiar with Dragonette's music, showing an interesting contrast where I knew the opening act while he knew the headliner. This review focuses mostly on Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees.

The show was held on October 17, 2009, and the venue, laconically named Venue (don't you love ironic un-creativity), was originally the Plaza night club. It was quite classy, in fact, which was a nice deviation from many of the Vancouver clubs. There was a high stage, much like the Commodore Ballroom, and similarly has a well laid out floor plan. High ceilings and a balcony enabled a back wall LED light display, as well as a hanging ceiling light displays. Both of those were put to good use during the two sets.

A few notes about Dragonette-- the lead singer Martina Sorbara oozes confidence. She knows how to grab attention and hold it. The crowd, which consisted of everything from screaming club girls to Gucci-sporting men to gamer-looking huge guys, ate up whatever she served during the hour set. It was amazing to be up so close to the front and see the amount of arms reaching and longing to touch her grey body suit or shake her slender hand. Sorbara was visibly pleased and thanked the full house crowd for their full attention and adoration.

Now onto Halifax's Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees. As an opening act, they complemented Dragonette very well, as both bands have strong frontwomen, backed by solid trios of supporting men. They both played electro-dance rock which moved you involuntarily.

Ruby Jean launched into You Don't Miss Me, the one song I was familiar with from CBC Radio 3, as the first song in their set. They then proceeded to blitz and grind through the remainder of songs from their eponymous album.

Although their time slot was quite early (7:30 on a weekend?), which Rebekah apologized for, the area in front of the stage soon filled up with bobbing heads and swinging hips. And with good reason. Rebekah Higgs is a hell of a show-woman, clutching two microphones, swinging her mess of blond hair around, kicking the air, craning her back down where previously thought humanly impossible, punching her suitcase of buttons and pedals... in short, it was amazing. She oozed confidence (and sex appeal!) in a fully sequined blue mini-dress, matched by guitarist Jason Vautour in a leather vest (no shirt) and leather short-shorts.

It was a pleasure watching the band rock out on stage, visibly having fun, with chemistry and what may be sexual tension building up to the (very high) roof. Rebekah thanked the audience frequently for their high energy, and reached out into the crowd quite a few times for audience participation.

I immediately bought their album and shirt after the set, which came to a very reasonable $20, and got to chat briefly with Rebekah, who's really sweet despite (?) her onstage persona.

On stage, Higgs mentioned that this is only the second time that they've played in Vancouver. Well, that has to be remedied. and fast.

For more pictures from last night, visit my Flickr!