Concert Review: The Balconies, April 3rd, Haven Club

Edmonton – Ottawa’s The Balconies have been rising through the Toronto scene, as the last couple of Panic Manual plaudits attest. Now they’re poised to take over the rest of Canada and joining up with a trio of local bands, stopped by Edmonton this past weekend for the first of their two shows here this month.

Arrived at the Haven club around 8:00 while there was still a sound check going on. Was a bit unsure what to expect, since the club’s in a part of town that’s probably in one of the top five stretches here where you wouldn’t want to walk alone after dark. Turns out it’s a pretty cozy, relaxed place with the same kind of audience. I’d guess there’s room for about 25-50 people on the dance floor in front of the stage, depending on how many tables are set up and how many people are actually dancing. Further back are some larger tables, where most people seemed content to stay for the evening. Soon enough, The Translators took the stage. For a band who seems to be only a few concert dates past their “battle of the bands” days, they did fine. Solid mid-tempo folk-rock, with a couple of songs even reminding me of one of my favourite 90’s guilty pleasures, Toad the Wet Sprocket.

Yes Nice played next and were the pleasant surprise of the night. Formed in Edmonton, they relocated to Vancouver and are now .. back to Edmonton, or at least partly? I dunno, I lost track. In any event, they played about 7-8 tracks from their already prolific discography from the last two years (one EP and two albums since 2008.) What made Yes Nice stand out though, was the charisma of the band’s performance, especially from co-frontman Nathaniel Wong who seems to relish the role of raconteur. In between songs he would talk and joke with a straight face about mythical upbringings in rural Alberta and re-appropriated choruses from BTO tunes. The rest of the band seemed to be having a grand time too.

The last of the local bands was Whisker Kiss, who have been playing local shows at indie clubs for about 3 years now. By the time they hit the stage the audience at the front had really picked up, a group of their friends formed an energetic dance circle in front of the stage. It was pretty clear by then that a large part of the audience was here to see Whisker Kiss, as this was their last show together. Oddly enough it was a CD release party for their new EP as well, but perhaps they’re releasing it as more of a thank you relic to their friends and fans.

The Balconies capped the night off, taking the stage around midnight. By this time most of the patrons near the front cleared the dance floor, but if that discouraged them they never let it show. The trio launched into a blistering version of Ghost Fever, and covered a significant portion of their self-titled album mixed with gracious chatter thanking the other participants this night. Singer and guitarist Jacquie Neville took their performance to the next level as she danced across the stage without missing a note. I don’t think it was just the several drinks I already had that night either, but the band sounded even more cohesive live than they did on the record. After this particular performance, I expect that anyone remaining at the club was both thrilled at what they just saw and still wanting even more.

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Posted on by guestwriter in Concerts, Music

One Response to Concert Review: The Balconies, April 3rd, Haven Club

  1. Jen

    I like them much better live than on record!

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