Been a minute since we’ve seen live music in a busy venue and Fruit Bats were the perfect act back. They took down Hollywood Theatre on March 18th, 2022, a mere couple weeks after BC’s mask mandate ended. There were folks aplenty ready to move to their new and older stuff.
Fruit Bats brought their Illinois folk-rock sound up and over to Vancouver. Their albums have grown and shifted as band members have come and gone, with lead singer, Eric D. Johnson, the North Star along the way. Given the various travel complications of the last couple years, this tour could be showcasing their 2022 release Sometimes a Cloud Is Just a Cloud: Slow Growers, Sleeper Hits and Lost Songs, their 2021 releases Siamese Dream AND The Pet Parade, 2020’s The Glory of Fruit Bats, or their 2019 album Gold Past Life. And, functionally, Sometimes a Cloud serves as a retrospective across two decades of their music, and perhaps that is what this tour is as well.
Fruit Bats came out to a sold out Hollywood Theatre on an ethereal stage of clouds and suns. Opening with The Bottom of It, the opener off Gold Past Life before moving into My Sweet Midwest off Absolute Loser. Eric said this was actually an internet request.
A few songs following this, including Cazadera, were shouted out as their Canadian debut. They then moved through their catalogue, from older to new and back again. The packed crowd swayed with them. People were dancing, making out (I haven’t seen that in a while), and back at live music. It was a delightful show.
Much as Sometimes a Cloud moves back and forwards through their discography, this show did too. Eric himself said part of the album is the “collection that you buy for your friend that’s Fruit Bats curious” and that part of the album is for longtime fans. I would say the show did that as well, reminding everyone at the Hollywood Theatre what the Fruit Bats can do.
They left they stage for one of the most telegraphed encores we’ve ever seen, which would have been demanded by this crowd no matter what. They saved one of their biggest, Humbug Mountain Song, for the encore and, in more of a surprise, came back again for a second encore. Everybody left satisfied and wanting more.
Going in, I was familiar with their bigger songs, but not the whole catalogue and was quickly drawn in. Will definitely be back next time they are in town.
Photos: Mikhail Din
Review: Alex Jardine