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Maurice, along with friends, illuminated The Media Club by bringing the best of the Island to Vancouver.
I arrived at the Media Club drenched from the torrential downpour that has come to define Vancouver winters. Complain as I may, it beats the hell out of the bone-chilling Ontario winters of my childhood. I wiped my feet, shook water from my head, tripped on the final step going into the room and nearly sailed face-first into the bar. So far so good. Time for a beer.
Ciseaux during their first song at The Media Club. (Image: Adam Duron)
Launching into their first song as I made my graceful entrance was the Victoria quartet Ciseaux, led by Katie Schaan. She stood behind her Nord Electro with poise and confidence as she belted out beautiful lyrics with a powerful voice.
Colin McTaggart, an accomplished player, complemented the music on guitar and Olivier Clements’ work on the trumpet was captivating. His drawn-out notes were haunting and beautiful.
The highlight of Ciseaux’s set had to be the last song “Dance Card”, which lured Schaan from behind her keyboard to the front of the stage. The audience responded to her energy and erupted into a dance during the high-tempo number.
Eric Larocque and Ben Caldwell engaged in their final number. (Image: Adam Duron)
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Next up were Golden natives Stellar Radio Choir. Beginning their set with a bluesy rock driven jam, the trio—consisting of Eric Larocque on guitar & vocals, Ben Caldwell on Drums & Vocals and Todd Menzies on Bass—emanated with soul.
Taking us back to the simpler era of garage rock, without the complicated synthesizers and experimental sounds of modern indie, Stellar delivered a solid show. I loved the harmonies during “An Unfortunate Incident”, as Caldwell’s voice wailed from behind his kit.
JP Maurice kicking things off. (Image: Adam Duron)
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After only a few moments onstage, it was impossible not to recognize JP Maurice’s raw talent. Sporting a Movember stache, his falsetto voice filled the room.
He was joined onstage with a stellar cast of players, including Vince Vaccaro, Jeff Mitchelmore and Al Harringer.
As seen in his Noverbud sessions, Maurice has gained a reputation for not only attracting some of the most talented musicians in BC, but also restricting practice prior to performance to maintain spontaneity. As Harringer confessed, “JP only gave us two hours of practice before the show.”
This method allowed the band to feed off one another and wear different hats—essentially paying these musicians the creative license they deserve.
At one point, JP unplugged his guitar, stepped off the stage and requested silence as he dove into “Big Country.” At first the audience didn’t know what to think of the unconventional move, but a circle soon formed around the musician and the scene resembled a beach fire sing-a-long. Gradually others joined in until the entire room was chanting in unison.
Ben Caldwell holds the mic for JP as he goes unplugged. (Image: Adam Duron)
Inviting all the remaining musicians left in the bar onstage, JP began a beautiful cover of Dreams by Fleetwood Mac, which evolved into a mash-up of Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. This turned into a massive sing-a-long, including those who knew the lyrics and those too drunk to care they didn’t.
Exhausted from a full night of singing and dancing, I said my good-byes to Victoria friends and caught the last Skytrain home. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for Maurice.