The rain fell hard on Vancouver Friday evening but it didn’t deter anyone from heading to the Biltmore Cabaret for a co-headlining show featuring Craft Spells and Moon Duo.
Kicking things off was San Francisco’s The Bilinda Butchers, their name an obvious tribute to My Bloody Valentine’s Bilinda Butcher. The four-piece played selections from their concept album, Heaven, and their EPs, as well as an ace cover of The Whitest Boy Alive’s “Burning”. Colour-saturated projections of what appeared to be streets in Japan were projected onto the stage’s back curtain as the band played through their set. Their delivery wasn’t entirely enthusiastic—perhaps it was simply a case of end-of-tour lethargy—but I will say that their drummer, Ryan Wansley, is pretty rad and their tunes were surprisingly catchy.
Craft Spells was the first headliner to hit the stage and once they were all set-up, Justin Vallesteros announced that their drummer couldn’t get across the border so they were going to play a stripped-down set. And stripped-down it was. While the lack of drums could have really affected the sound of some bands, it provided for some next-level chill vibes and made the gig all the more intimate. Even Vallesteros jokingly told the crowd that there was a Staind: MTV Unplugged vibe going on. Craft Spells’ set was shortened due to the late start, but it was good mishmash of songs from Idle Labor and Nausea, the band’s sophomore effort that was released last year. A clear favourite of the crowd’s was “Party Talk”, to which some clapped along, and “After the Moment”, the final song of the set.
Those who showed up to see Craft Spells filtered out and there was a distinct change in the audience when it was Moon Duo‘s time on stage. In complete darkness, the San Francisco duo of Sanae Yamada and Ripley Johnson appeared onstage with their drummer, John Jeffrey, and the band powered through a set chock-full of psych-rock bangers. To add to the psychedelic factor were the choppy light projections, bathing the trio in washes of black, red, and white light. Moon Duo’s set was definitely a big contrast from the blissed-out vibes during Craft Spells’ set, but it gave the crowd an opportunity to let loose and head-band to their hearts content on a Friday night.