Tuesday, March 30, 2010

SHOW REVIEW : Postdata and Julie Fader

I tend to judge the quality of a show at the Media Club by my ability to hear the performers. The shape of the venue, with the bar near the back of the rectangular room and the washrooms right beside the stage, ensures that your concert going experience is highly dependent upon the mood of the crowd. Using that criterion alone, Postdata (Paul Murphy of Wintersleep) and Julie Fader put on highly successful sets on March 20, 2010 in Vancouver.

But of course, a cooperative crowd is not the only element needed for a great show. And these also came in spades. After an opening set by Clinton St. John, Julie Fader approached the stage, dressed casually and playing a set that can be best described as comfortable. She's touring to promote her solo album, Outside In, after long stretches of supporting large names in Canadian independent music such as Feist, Great Lake Swimmers and Chad Van Gaalen.

In the best sense of the word comfortable, Fader drew in the near-silent, appreciative crowd, with many sitting on the wooden floor surrounding the stage. She commented at one point that she was glad that she didn't have to give each member of the audience a $20 bill to keep quiet. Observing from the back of the room, I was also surprised by the attention of the people at the bar. Every once in a while, I would catch a glance out the doors at the performance on the giant jumbotron across the street at LiveCity Downtown, before returning my gaze to the warm glow emitted by the stage lights, and Julie, equipped with only her guitar and soft voice. Her set was akin to escaping from the city into the warmth of a campfire. It was surreal and a quiet pleasure.

Julie Fader's set was accompanied by both members of Postdata, Paul and Tim, and in return Julie made frequent appearances on stage with Postdata as well. It was clear from the get-go that although many may have been there due to the band being comprised of two members of the highly successful Wintersleep, this wasn't going to be a derivative project. Gritty, stripped down, Murphy's voice commanded an intimate attention. And although I wasn't very familiar with the recording beforehand, I couldn't help but leave feeling like Murphy had shared something profoundly personal with each individual in the room. This feeling was best captured by a specific scene I witnessed-- 2 tall, enthusiastic fans, who began singing along to one of the tunes, grinning ear to ear with pleasure, gradually fading to silence with their eyes softening attentively towards the stage.

As a side note, after chatting with Julie after the sets, she mentioned how uncommon it is for people to approach artists after shows, and how it can make an artist feel disconnected from her audience. So let this be a lesson to you, to go up to the merch table and shake the hand of the person who just poured out their talent for you. Maybe give them a hug too!

Download two of Postdata's songs "Tobias" and "In Chemicals" off their self-titled: