I had no idea that Camilo the Magician was an actual person. Not only does the whimsical title character from one of Said the Whale’s most successful hits exist in real life, but he made a guest appearance at the Malkin Bowl when the Vancouver band headlined Friday, September 6. He used his magic to help a large sketch pad give birth to a bowling ball in a fitting, tongue-in-cheek sleight of hand early in their set.
Friday’s hometown headline show marked the first date on Said the Whale’s current coast to coast tour that sees them visiting a few select West Coast destinations before embarking across Canada. It was a star-studded affair with some key Vancouver musicians in attendance including Dan Mangan, Parker Bosley, and Drew and Danielle McTaggart of Dear Rouge.
It was a beautiful community event that also helped showcase some of Vancouver’s new rising talent. Earlier this year, the band offered a contest where the top ten artists would be featured on a CD at the show, with the winner performing at the Malkin Bowl. Seventeen-year-old Jaden Bricker won the grand prize and opened the night.
The Beaches, an all-female pop rock band from Toronto were up next. I’ve been hearing a lot of hype around this band, and I have to say, this fab four was totally deserving of all of it. They are a deliciously sassy and stylish group of rockers who have been churning out hit singles since the release of their debut album Late Night in 2017. Their sophomore effort The Professional dropped in May of this year and already has two charting singles even though it’s only five tracks deep.
Their sound is rooted in classic garage rock, but they’ve added a glamorous flare to it with searing pop hooks and lyrics that boldly explore the female perspective. The four musicians are obviously very comfortable on stage, and their performance is raw and energetic, yet polished enough to include a few synchronized jumps and jams.
I’m sure I sound like a broken record because I keep saying this is an exciting time in music, but it damn well is. And the Beaches are one reason why.
Speaking of reasons why, I think it’s fair to say that Said the Whale is one reason why Vancouver’s live music scene is as vibrant as it is today. If you know and love Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest, then a lot of their music will resonate automatically. Not only have they been on of Vancouver’s most beloved indie band for a whole decade, but they actively help promote up and coming artists.
Their newest album Cascadia dropped earlier this year and arguably summarizes their career with respect to style and overall mood. Their set on Friday was full of catchy, hit singles from Cascadia’s “Unamerican” to “Loveless from 2012’s Little Mountain. There was at least one cover song thrown in, “Whole Wide World” by Cage the Elephant, which might have been one of the highlights for me, personally.
There were also lots of guest appearances. The most notable was CBC broadcaster Grant Lawrence who bounded barefoot onto the stage clad in matching pink, gold and blue shirt and pants to showcase his own take on traditional dancing during “False Creek Change,” one of the few deep cuts of the evening.
Moments like that really made the evening feel like a celebration of community. Even on a personal level, as I had a really nice time connecting with all the other very talented photographers who I see so often but rarely get the chance to chat with. I started this blog to explore how music connects us and I feel like over the last month or so I might have lost sight of that a little bit. Thank you for the lovely reminder, Said the Whale!