As my first piece for Nine Eight Seven, I was asked to review Youngblood, followed by Bishop Briggs at The Vogue Theatre in Vancouver’s entertainment district. Being one of the only women in the media pit, I tried not to let myself be intimidated. I needn’t have worried – the two acts were respectively spearheaded by two of the most badass, empowering women to hit the stage I’ve seen in a long time.
Youngblood, as the frontwoman Alexis Young describes, is “what the ‘60s thought the future would sound like”. The eclectic, electronic waves and Young’s fiery vocals make it near impossible to believe that this Vancouver-based band is barely a year old. If you want to read more about Young personally, stay tuned for Nine Eight Seven’s interview with her – you’ll fall in love with the laidback siren that is Alexis Young.
Young’s range coupled with the rest of the band’s raw talent made for a commanding set in the 70-year-old theatre. Her trendy vibes and throwback style were met with enthusiasm. In her silky voice, Alexis Young interacted with the audience with quiet humour. Youngblood’s future is bright, and budding rapidly. Garnering hundreds of thousands of listens on Spotify, and watching a snowballing following, the band is striking all the right chords. Cozy but punchy concerts like last night may soon be in the past for this Canadian band. 4/4!
As the stage crew set to work, and a banner dropped behind the drums, the crowd began to buzz once more. In the just-grungy half-light of the venue, I waited patiently.
No amount of Spotify browsing or background reading could have prepared me for the sheer power and dynamism Bishop Briggs brought to the stage. From the white kicks to an iconic pair of pigtails, Briggs’ persona filled Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre from her first note to her dual encore.
Sarah Grace McLaughlin (aka: Bishop Briggs) is a British performer now based in LA. Her style, an electric mix of powerhouse vocals, synth, and heavy base make her difficult to categorize into one genre – her badass moves, killer outfit, and raw energy make her easy to adore. She’s a fresh, trendy singer poised only to keep rising.
Bishop Briggs opened with “Dark Side”, a chilling, eerie track cut with her stunning lyrics and synthetic base; I was sold.
A lion of a performer, she played hits like “Wild Horses”, “Pray”, and “Be Your Love” to an eager crowd of festival-goers. The intimacy of The Vogue allowed her to reach every single audience member at Westward Festival’s opening night.
Briggs performed “River”, arguably her most well-known song, as her second encore. The kick in the tune, and her bouncy dancing had everyone at the show on a high. The atmosphere, a head-banging, hand-clapping, high-jumping attendees made it clear that she stole the night.
All in all, Bishop Briggs’ first ever show in Vancouver was a huge success, and has had me listening to her on repeat since. I can’t begin to convey how in awe her show left me. I can say that the founder of Nine Eight Seven leaned over during her set to say that he hadn’t been so impressed in a very long time. I’d give her 2/2 whipping pigtails, and tell you that you need to catch this powerhouse chick’s performance as soon as you can.
Review: Lindsay Bell
Youngblood Photos: Mikhail Din
Bishop Briggs Photos: Lindsay Bell
September 2017 could be one of the best months this year for Vancouver concert-goers. One of the many reasons why: Westward Music Festival. Running September 14-17, Vancouver will be host to Westward Music Festival: a festival which will happen at multiple venues in the city (Vogue Theatre, Biltmore Cabaret, Venue, The Imperial Theatre and Fox Cabaret) and feature 14 different events over the course of the weekend. Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is their first year, WMF is bringing some world class acts such as Vince Staples, A Tribe Called Red, and Gov’t Mule.
Among the many rad acts, Little Destroyer: a 3 piece group formed in Vancouver. They’ll be playing along side Dear Rouge at The Imperial on Friday September 15th (more info here).
When we first heard Little Destroyer, many questions formed in our heads. Luckily for us, we got them to answer some for us!
987’s Alli Bridges got in a lil’ Q&A with Little Destroyer’s front-woman Allie Sheldan to help us learn more about the act:
1) You guys have a really unique style that I had a hard time describing. In terms of genre how would you define what youre doing here?
Haha ya – we tend to have that response from people! Short answer: we make alternative music. Long answer: We make music that reflects a long list of influences but ultimately tries to create alternative/pop music that pushes the set boundaries. Sometimes we tell people we’re like if NIN and Miley had a baby fronted by a Yolandi+Gwen mashup. For us it’s about genre mashing, distorting sounds and perceptions but making music you wanna listen to over and over, in the way the pop can hook you – but ultimately being catalyzed through the rawness and energy of punk.
2) So far you’ve released a couple singles from your upcoming EP. When do we get to hear more?
Very soon! To date, we’ve got three songs released – Bad Cell, Rattlesnakes & Savages. Within the next 2 months we’ll be releasing our next single, shooting the video for the following release and dropping some remixes!
3) Allie, you’ve made a point of speaking to the importance of authentic and meaningful lyrics in your music. What is your favorite lyric- in your own and others’ work?
I definitely tend to be fairly candid when writing, I grew up obsessing over lyrics and liner notes and for me, it’s the first thing I notice about a song. It can be uncomfortable being honest but if you can say, (for example) hey listen to this fucked up thing I did/thought/experienced you’re showing people it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to talk about this stuff. And it helps us all realize we aren’t alone in it. Novel done.
favourite lyric of my own: “All my friends are buying mansions now, they got a kid on the way and it’s reminding me how, I fucked up my life by breaking your heart and the path that I chose has been wrong from the start” – from our song MANSIONS
favourite lyric of someone else’: “The debt you owe is just your soul, and some hotel bills, we’re both just victims of our own free will, and it’s through, you know it’s true, so go and find yourself something to hold onto” – The Reigning Sound “Something to hold onto”
4) It really feels like you’re making music that has yet to be made because it’s so unique and defying of genre. That said, you all must have some artists that you’re inspired by that have informed your music and its direction. Who are they?
Kanye West, Portishead, Tricky, Suicide, The Kills, Die Antwoord, Frank Ocean, The Clash, Anohni, Lou Reed, NIN, Death Grips, Ho99o9, Santigold, MIA….
5) Speaking of musical inspiration, who are you listening to right now that we should check out?
Vince Staples, Peach Pit, War on Drugs, Anohni, Jay Z, King Krule, Against Me!
5.5) Craft Beer or Bud Light Lime?
Tequila! Budwiser Picante Chelada.
6) Let’s get you to play DJ for a second. Pick a song for the occasion: 1) driving 2) dancing 3) drinking
1) Driving: Lift me up – Vince Staples
2) Dancing: BBHMM – Rihanna
3) Drinking: Drinking With the Jocks – Against Me!
7) You’ve been a part of some amazing shows, including opening for Mother Mother and an upcoming show with Dear Rouge. Who would you dream of opening for? And who would you love to open for you?
We have been part of some amazing shows – we feel so lucky! Honestly opening for Against Me! was a dream come true. It was our first time playing at the Commodore and Against Me! is one of our all time favourite bands. So that was incredibly special. And who would we wanna have open for us? Victories, Two Towns or LEGS.
8) What is on the horizon for shows? (what we really want to know is when can we Vancouverites see you next?)
In terms of Vancouver shows: we are playing Friday September 15th at the Imperial with Dear Rouge for Westward Festival which we are very excited about. Great venue and great lineup. And we also have an intimate, limited capacity show in the works, which we’ll be releasing details for soon!
There you have it. One of many shows next weekend NOT to miss.
987 will see you there 😉
Write up: Mikhail Din
Q&A: Alli Bridges
Photo: Nice Marmot PR
So when the powers that be at the NineEightSeven told me to go check out Spoon at the Malkin Bowl last Saturday I was obviously excited because it seems like almost anyone you ask can name a Spoon song and has a story about it to boot.
Almost … but not everyone … with myself being a slightly embarrassed portion of the “not” category.
So, after getting distracted by my uncle’s invitation to play some pick up hockey on Saturday morning (shout out to Uncle Tohmm still going bar down in his sixties) I still hadn’t fully figured out the story behind what makes Spoon so great … but I was excited to find out.
I rolled up to Malkin Bowl (literally … biking through Stanley Park is definitely one of my favourite parts about shows at the Malkin Bowl) on a beautiful Saturday night. I then started asking around on what made Spoon so special “for readers who might not know them that well” (people did not look like they were fooled by this obvious cover up). I got some pretty good answers, and decided to fact them check as the show started.
1) The Variety of their Music:
This one was dead on the money. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a band with as wide of a catalogue stylistically where each song sounded so good! (say what you will about Lil Wayne’s brief foray into rock) This was probably my favourite part of the concert, I literally had no idea what to expect each time they finished a song and transitioned into the next. If you told me that they were pulling a reverse-Wayne and putting out a rap album, I’d assume it was going to be good.
2) They make pop songs that sound like a jam
This one came courtesy of a musician and I can see why. Spoon broke down the end of countless songs with jams that showcased an amazing display of musicianship. While the slowed-down extended keyboard solo may have lost me for a little bit, in an age of backing tracks and superbowl performances with guitars that aren’t plugged in, this was a very refreshing performance to see.
3) They’re a Very Consistent Band
While I haven’t listened to every Spoon album, I can definitely see how these 2 guys to the front right of the stage could make this point. Despite wide stylistic differences, each song was consistently good, and while I’m taking their word on this one (I don’t think the NineEightSeven is willing to wait for me to listen to every Spoon album before I submit this) I really have to give it to a band that can keep up this level consistency. Every song they played on Saturday night was very good and has definitely motivated me to get started on working my way through their catalogue.
4) They Put on an Amazing Show
I’m going to go out on a limb and give you guys one opinion that I didn’t actually (crowd)source. The band put on a phenomenal show, their stage lights were great and worked amazing with the performance they put on, the band played insanely tight (almost like they’d been touring together for 24 years .. who’d have thought), Britt Daniel (guitars, vocals) honestly some of the best stage moves I’ve seen from someone holding an instrument. They put on a delightful show that I would 100% recommend checking out next time they’re in town … even if you’re one of those uninformed simpletons who couldn’t even name one of their albums before you went and reviewed their show for a music blog.
The best part of this show though is that it made me want to throw the hockey gear back in the closet and dust off my guitar as soon as I got home (along with cuing up Apple Music to download a bunch of their albums), and if that isn’t the best compliment you can give a show then I don’t know what is.
Also as an aside … what is it about bands from the South that they sound vaguely British in the way they sing (think Spoon, Cage the Elephant)? I guess I’ll just have to add this mystery to the many reasons why Nashville and Austin are high up on my list of places to visit (my friend John from Winnipeg also claims that people say this about him when he sings … but I’ve never seen him perform and I really don’t want to go to Winnipeg to investigate).
3 cherry bombs out of 3!
Review: Jeremy Campos
Photos: Darrole Palmer