Sunday, May 23, 2010

SHOW REVIEW : Hannah Georgas album release for This Is Good at Venue

After playing a packed hometown show in Vancouver last night, Hannah Georgas is wrapping up her album release tour for This Is Good in Victoria tonight. With her undeniably catchy pop tunes, Hannah excited and energized a crowd filled with friends and family, including more fellow musicians than you can count with all your fingers and toes. And that certainly was a good indicator of the quality of Georgas' musicianship. Although she started the night on a slightly nervous note, which is understandable given that this is the hometown show of her first headlining tour, she soon loosened up after a few songs bolstered by the audience's affection of the fiery haired singer.

Hannah Georgas blasted through the majority of the material off of her The Beat Stuff EP and her recently released first full-length, This Is Good. Venue nightclub had emblazoned her name in lights as her and the band entered the stage, which was definitely a nice touch. Opening with the ukelele-led closer of her album "Something for You," she immediately transitioned into her single "Bang Bang You're Dead!" sans the help of the kids at her daycare, whom she got to sing the backup vocals (it was past bedtime, probably). This worked to her favour, as some of us that grew up in the era of scary movies narrated with children's voices might find it hard to take kids' voices in songs seriously. Other highlights of the set included the always, always awesome track off of her EP "Mama's Boy," which opener Colleen Brown earlier aptly defined as a "ball buster" of a track. This fierce yet totally relatable kiss-off song had, I'm sure, many girls mentally high-fiving Georgas.

After a short pause after her proper set, Hannah came back on stage for a three song encore. Fans were delighted by the more than night club friendly track "Dancefloor." In a move that somehow works due to Georgas' immense likeability, she slowed things right down with a new song "Ode to Mom," a more sombre ballad which she dedicated to her father's memory. The end of the song had Georgas singing the words, "if there's magic on this earth, it's in the water... if there's magic on this earth, it's in my blood." This vulnerable and contemplative theme carried over into the last track of the night, "Shine," which saw Georgas on the keys and probing, "is there a place for me in your eyes?" to which the crowd emphatically responded, yes, with their glowing smiles and loud applause.

Hannah Georgas was backed by David Vertesi on guitar/bass, who also acted as her first opener of the night. Better known as local favourites Hey Ocean!'s bassist, Vertesi has recently started churning out material of his own. And boy, did he look all alone on the wide stage of Venue nightclub. The lighting technician didn't entirely help matters either, often turning off the spotlight after a song, making it appear as if the set had ended. He played short set of about 5-6 songs characterized by quiet guitar strums and a deep baritone voice, which included a Hey Ocean! song "My Friends" which he dedicated to the following two acts, Colleen Brown and Hannah Georgas.

In between sets, the audience was treated to CBC Radio 3 trivia questions and swag giveaways by co-emcees Tariq Hussain and Chris Kelly. Chris in particular seemed very amped up and was hilarious on stage. If you need someone to introduce you for anything, I'd give him a call!

Colleen Brown is an artist that has dwelt somewhat under the radar since she started writing her own music in 2001. A damn shame, I say, because after seeing her open for Georgas, I wholeheartedly agreed with emcee Chris Kelly's advice, to go and thank Hannah Georgas for introducing us to this amazing singer-writer. As someone who grew up listening to rhythm and blues and musical theatre during high school, I'd always lamented the indie scene's relative lack of vocalists. If you're like me, take a listen to Brown, who slides in between octaves seamlessly, whose joy in using her voice permeates throughout her songs, which she admitted, were all "sappy love songs." But you won't find only ballads on her recently re-released album Foot in Heart if her live show is any indication; her playful and warm voice is punctuated by punchy keys that encourage dancing and swaying. Her set brought increasingly louder applause until the crowd was clapping and whooping when she left the stage.

For the complete photo set of Hannah's show, check out my Flickr.

Some live footage of Hannah Georgas at the Communitea Cafe in Canmore:
"Let's Talk"