There was a lot going on downtown on February 12. Granville Street was packed with drunken patriots celebrating the anniversary of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, while Canucks fans were flooding out of Rogers Arena following a win against the Calgary Flames. With all this hoopla in the air, I was a bit surprised to see how many people found their way to the Media Club. I didn’t quite understand it, at least not until In Medias Res finally took the stage.
The night, however, began with a solo set from Dan Moxon, whom usually sings with Bend Sinister. Decked out in a plaid flannel shirt and sporting a shaggy lumberjack beard, the musician sat down in front of his Nord Electro 3 keyboard and belted out his first tune, surprising many with his soulful voice that mixes Ray Lamontagne with a splash of Paul McCartney, à la “Oh! Darling.” It was refreshing to hear a stripped down solo act with vocals and piano, instead of the cliched acoustic guitar-toting singer-songwriter. Though Moxon did decent covers of the Beatles’ “Michelle,” and Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town,” I think he can do without them. His original work is far more compelling and really showcases his impressive voice. The guy’s got pipes, not to mention some mad whistling skills.
Resembling a group of high school teachers, Safety Show discreetly walked up onto the stage and delivered a rather lukewarm performance. Lead singer Katie Lapi’s high, bubbly voice sets an interesting contrast against the crunchy guitar and rougher back-up vocals of her band mates, but unfortunately it was difficult to detect any of this since the sound levels were off. Everything sounded muddled together. The crowd gradually dissipated, only to return for the main act.
Judging by the crowd’s reaction when In Medias Res busted into their set, you can tell the band have a devoted following. From the two silly blonde girls in front of me giggling and swinging their hips, to the row of fist-pumping fan boys to my right, it was clear who these people came out to see.
In Medias Res have been around for nearly a decade and it definitely shows. There is nothing amateur about them. Their music touches upon a smoother, stadium rock sound but can also verge on the hardcore side of things. Their set was one large crescendo, giving the audience a taste of their mellower jams like “Tonight I Am New,” as well as heavier favourites like “Bears.” But no matter which side of the spectrum, the band held it together tightly, seemingly feeding off each other’s energy.
The performance also highlighted the group’s lightheartedness and good humour. Guitarist Ash Poon, in particular, enjoyed making the crowd laugh as he excitedly shouted out “boyar” throughout the night. He was determined to turn the term into a chant. Eventually it caught on and people were yelling “boyar” after every song.
The Media Club is a tiny place and it was obvious that it could not contain the band’s intense
sound. My ears were still ringing the next day. Get these guys a bigger venue next time,
because they certainly have the fan base and big sound to fill it out. BOYAR!