Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Satellite Nation, Whitfield, The Bourbon, Vancouver, April 4, 2008

I told myself I wasn't going to post about Friday night - both the band and the venue have been covered at length previously, and I didn't really feel like I had anything of note to add.

But then I sat down Sunday evening to put together a 3 hour presentation about the joys of Finite Element Analysis for evaluating stress in structures and products, which I'm giving in ten days time and still haven't really started, and decided that pretty much anything is an improvement on doing that. It seems like every time I'm under serious pressure to get anything done (exam times, during work crunch), I find ways of procrastinating and doing something completely different. For example, my house was never cleaner than it was during exam time, and during one particularly stressful period, I decided I'd take a day and a half out to teach myself how to do cryptic crosswords.

Anyway, Friday night it was back to the Bourbon for a second peek this year at The Satellite Nation, Vancouver's finest transplanted Australian modern rock band. We walked in to the final strains of the support, Whitfield, who were plodding their way through a number that sounded like Pablo Honey-era Radiohead. Turned out that it might have been just that, as their closing song was a Muse cover. Whitfield were notable for two things:

1. Their bassist played a Thunderbird. Regular readers of this blog will remember that I'm in love with said piece of machinery, so after seeing one in the hands of a mediocre local band, I thought that I may be able to get one for myself, just to keep on a stand in the corner of the room (all I know how to play on the bass is a series of Pavement songs, and the riff from Gigantic, and it doesn't seem right to play Pavement songs on that). However, after researching the cost, I realized that the bassist from Whitfield either has a) more money than sense, or b) a copy.

2. They employed one of the best set-closing manouvres I've seen for a little while. The singer finished the last verse, and walked off stage. The band continued to play another couple of bars, before the lead guitarist rang out a note, put his guitar down, and walked off, followed a couple of bars later by the bassist, and finally the drummer. It's obviously a move they stole from The Alpha Males international pop hit "Taken" (83 plays in 2 years, and counting) and it was great. However, the effect was diminished somewhat by the fact that they rushed back on stage to pack up their gear about 15 seconds after the drummer had walked off, while the sustain was still ringing out.

I bumped into the guitarist for The Satellite Nation before they went on stage, and found that it was his birthday, and that he'd been celebrating appropriately. The mark of a true rock star is the ability to play competent rockandroll despite being fall-down drunk, and the young man in question confirmed that he is part of that lofty pantheon already. The band were as tight as ever, and still look like they suit a much bigger stage. It says something both about the type and quality of their songs that the person standing next to me said to me "I've seen these guys 3 times, but I know most of the words to their songs". The songs follow a fairly set formula, but they don't skimp on the pop hooks, which makes it pretty fun to watch. These guys also do their best to look good on stage, and it makes a big difference, I'll never forget how underwhelmed I was when I saw a band in Vancouver wearing flannel shirts and sweatpants.

Again, post-show there was an appearance by the world's weirdest DJ (my favourite 3 song stretch went Justice>Beatles>Justin Timberlake), and dance floor silliness ensued. I vaguely remember trying to teach someone how to emulate my not-graceful-at-all spin, and also picking up an australian and jumping up and down, but that might be my imagination. It was that kind of night.

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