There are many categories of music that I like, but am only glancingly acquainted with: black metal, Nuggets-style psych, krautrock, truck-driving country, etc. One of those genres is Canadian indie pop from the oughts. There is this whole scene — a “broken” “social” scene, I guess — that I find pretty good but don’t know that much about. It has never been my focus, and I have never really listened to Stars and wouldn’t have thought of going to see Amy Millan except that a friend strongly recommended I tag along.
And it turned out to be worth seeing. We made it in time to see one band before Millan’s band, and it was called Bahamas and consisted of one guy (Afie Jurvanen) on guitar and one guy playing drums (who looked kinda familiar…). They were ok… I liked them begrudgingly. Or rather, I liked the drummer (who also played keyboard/xylophone simultaneously on one song) and I liked the way Jurvanen played guitar. The begrudging part was that this was not my kind of music, usually. It was that pretty, romantic, nonsense that leaves teenage girls’ hearts all a-flutter. Every now and then I like that kind of thing but I can’t really handle the lyrics that are all about love and drama.
But the dude won me over a little bit, I will admit. He was goofy and charming, he sounded all Canadian and used the word “hosers,” and I finally laughed at one of his dumb jokes when he said something like, “if you liked that song, you’ll love this one: it’s the exact same chords.” To close his set he did a cover of “Purple Rain” and I was horrified at first, but again, halfway won over before the end.
Amy Millan was pretty good, too. I didn’t really know what to expect and it turned out to be a pleasant kind of country-tinged pop complete with a lot of banjo, mandolin, lap steel guitar, and trombone (I guess? I am bad at ID’ing brass instruments). It was, as she said, good Sunday night music.
The band was quite good, seldom veering far into rock territory, and occasionally letting a little bluegrass out. Again, this isn’t really my favorite music but I liked it. Amy Millan’s voice was really strong and the band was fun to watch. They seemed like quintessential Canucks: polite, restrained folk who refer to the temperature in Celsius.
Worth checking out, especially on a night like last night where nobody wanted to party, they just wanted to hear some nice music before heading home to bed.
Here’s a flickr photo set from the show, and a video of a song called “Losin’ You”: