Dance for the Dying - A local four-piece begins things off. They have guitar, bass and drums with a female singer who also plays some keys and percussion. In fact, the two axemen also play some keys as well. All of this makes sense as they have a strong dancey pop sound with plenty of energy. The songs start out a little in the Blondie/Bangles vein, but more toward their poppy songs and not the ones with more bite. Eventually a couple of songs with a little more guts entered the set which worked for me. Frankly, even the songs that did not work for me were well executed and supported by the good sized crowd (although a few of the usual "ringers" were responsible for some of this). Still, a good band that I will welcome easily enough on any given night, although not go out of my way for. If you like more mainstream, slick dance/pop rock sort of songs, then I would recommend going out of the way for this band. You will enjoy them.
Mother Mother - The club must be about 90% full for this Vancouver five-piece. I like the symmetry with two women on similar keyboards and backing vocals on each side of the stage. The guitarist/lead vocalist is in the middle with the drums and bass in the back. The bass player is allowed a trip downstage to play a saxophone solo on an instrument that looked about 150 years old. They establish a slick style quickly enough and although it may be a bit too much for me, the inventive songs and vocal arrangements keep my attention up. A nice cover of the Pixies "Gouge Away" helps things, although it mostly reminds me of how great a song it is as opposed to giving me any tricky new arrangement to hear. I think perhaps the guitarist looks just a little bit too much like Sting for my liking. Kind of creeping me out a bit as I do get a sense of Sting and the Police with this band's combination of edgy pop/rock and comfortable mainstream appeal. The switch to acoustic guitar lead to some nice style shifts into more straightforward indie rock terrain, so this band proved to me that they are talented enough to do a lot of interesting things. It would not surprise me or bother me too much if these guys really built themselves a large following. I am seeing it happen with another band I saw a while back, Fitz and the Tantrums. I liked Fitz better, but these are two bands to watch to see if they move upward in club size.
Quote of the Night: The crowd was roaring for Mother Mother and invited this response from the singer... "I love unbridled expressions of freedom." And the crowd bleated out a predictable roar.