Last week I had the good fortune of accompanying Indiefuzz impresario Willem Schoonbeek to his first ever concert at the Commodore Ballroom since his recent defection from Amsterdam to Vancouver.
Drinking Guinness and noshing on chicken wings like toothy rodents at a small pub near the venue, I acquiesced to Mr. Schoonbeeks lead to exit post haste with the assumption that the show would be starting at or around 8:00 pm. This was Mr. Schoonbeeks first lesson learned that Vancouver concert clubs are not like early bird specials for oldsters whereby you are home in bed with your teeth in a glass by 11:00 pm. He was a little taken aback with the news that headliner Laura Marling would not hit the stage until 10:45 pm.
We enter a cavernous and empty Commodore, better for Mr. Schoonbeek to see the place without the usual heaving mass of humanity mucking about on it’s famous dance floor but then, faced with too many choices, we have trouble deciding where to sit. In the end, we stand as is the custom at the Paradiso in Amsterdam and have plenty of time to mull over the situation. The Commodore can hold up to 990 people but the upstairs was closed this night.
“The ceiling is lower than I expected…?”
“There are alot of places to sit down, suprising?!”
“There is bar service AND waitress service..?!”
“Wow, the sound is really good”
“It’s more sophisticated than the Paradiso in Amsterdam” … which I take to mean that music is best listened to standing up without any creature comforts like chairs and table service.
We kill off a couple more beer and are finally rewarded by the arrival of opening folk act Willy Mason sporting a burgundy suit jacket more commonly seen on golf pros. With a set reminiscent of troubadours of the past like Pete Seeger or Woody Guthrie, he broke stride when some folkies in the audience lit their Bics.
Under the lights, Laura Marling looks more like an escapee from ABBA than the recipient of the 2011 Best of the British Female Solo Artist. Her sound is folk but with a gothic bent accompanied by superb backup musicians playing double bass, cello, flute, drums and the all American banjo. The vibe for me is of a young Stevie Nicks with her mystical style and lyric symbolism. I was especially drawn in by her performance of ‘Sophia’ with it’s long guitar intro showcasing her fret work and then her voice low and sultry compelling you to listen closely. ‘We love your art’ is shouted out by the dedicated fans of this original and beguiling songstress.
We cap off the night with more beer and chicken wings and I am home and in bed with my teeth in a glass at the sophisticated hour of 1:30 am.
Be sure to check out our album review of Laura Marling’s latest album ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’. Also available for your viewing pleasure are videos from the March 18th show at the Paradiso in Amsterdam; here is one of the fuzz favorites and there are more to see on our youtube channel. Fuzz on!