It was a calm night at the Biltmore Cabaret on July 21st. But it didn’t take long for the opening act, The Lower 48, band of three from Portland, Oregon, to shake us alive with their impressive and wide-ranging vocals. Sarah’s voice is especially raspy and sultry yet strong and undisputable. Their self-titled digital album is in between ‘60’s pop and rock ‘n’ roll. I spent most of my time imagining their songs in a Quentin Tarantino film – qualities of suspense, darkness and, at the same time, upbeat playfulness.
Next up was the second opening act, Dresses. Timothy and her real-life boyfriend, Jared, led the stage without the rest of the band (who couldn’t cross the border without passports) which made their acoustic performance an enjoyable one as they sang through their album Sun Shy. The indie-pop couple, also from Portland, charmed us with sweet and jolly folk elements. Timothy’s voice reminds me of Feist with more innocence. And, even so, is able to make swearing adorable in “Friends are Dead”.
It’s hard to not fall in love with Heather, Erika and Annie of Au Revoir Simone. They burst open with “Gravitron” off their latest release Move in Spectrums. Synth. So much synth. I was expecting a haunting and dreamy experience but was surprised at how alive and intimate they were in concert. I even saw Annie do a slight body roll at one point during “Just Like a Tree”.
The electronic dream-pop sound of Au Revoir Simone comes with a bathroom singing effect. I would know. “You are active listeners so its fun to play for you. Can we be your hometown heroes? Just between you and us, we’re from Vancouver”, said Annie of Brooklyn. Maybe it was the convincing talk or maybe it was their popular track, “Crazy”, either way, the audience on the dance floor picked up their feet and got their dance on.
During their last number, “Shadows”, Annie spoke for the room when she said that she was tired “but even though I can’t physically express it… in my brain I’m so fucking happy!” and proceeded to delight the crowd with encore performances of “Through the Backyards” and “Knight of Wands”. The moment the evening was over we quietly shuffled out but with much wider smirks than when we entered. After all, not too shabby for a Monday night.