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The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552
Fax: 604-267-3342

Web: www.columbiajournal.ca



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  • Volume Eight, Number Seven: October 2003

    Localcentric

    Well Fed Ears At The Green Room

    A Review

    Mark Bignell

    If you were in the mood for some atmospheric, psychedelic and hypnotic music, the Green Room, on Main near 25th Ave. in Vancouver, was the place to be last Tuesday night. An unusually full house fed its appreciative ears to three exceptional bands.

    The evening started off with the well-respected Jonathan Inc (www.johnathaninc.com) tossing off some well crafted, if moody, pop songs that reveal new pleasures with repeated listening. If you're up on the Indy scene, Jonathan has collaborated with and is well respected by such Indy heavies as Kevin Kane (ex-Grapes of Wrath), Radiogram, Jack Harlan and Jon Wood (of the late Coal, Flophouse Jr., and now Little Wonder).

    He's also produced the debut album by Maplewood Lane. You may hear from this band one day.

    Jonathan came prepared with a rack of goodies that included some curious distortion and looping echo effects on his vocals to set the pace for what was to be a very trippy musical feast. Keyboardist and back up singer, Michelle Grunert added some sublime harmony and well-punctuated fills.

    Next up was O & V (www.ovweb.com) who play up the psychedelic card a bit more. Their singer, Cindy Tomlinson has a voice that's best described as a later answer to Grace Slick, and Nico from the Velvet Underground.

    The band includes up to six players, which can include the usual bass, guitar and drums. But, they have more in store for you, bringing in not one but two cello players, adding to the swirling psychedelic stew of such songs as "Across The Waters" and "Have You ever Dreamed Of Moonlight."

    When this huge wash of strings and skins is finely meshed with Cindy's powerful vocals, it can be quite hypnotic.

    The headlining band, A Northern Chorus (www.anorthernchorus.com), is a five-piece from the outskirts of Toronto. They obviously have some local friends, including O & V and the earlier mentioned Radiogram, as members of both were among the crowd showing their undivided appreciation.

    I was very pleased with their mostly guitar-driven and dynamic arrangements, which went from shimmering, low-key intros to full volume freak-outs. Their sound is hard to completely pin down. It does have psychedelic leanings with its huge layers of bowed, e-bowed and chiming guitars. The addition of viola and flute made for some moving moments that had the crowd hushed as, they and myself, were literally tripping on the music.

    We were on another planet, with no intention of operating heavy equipment.

    Vocally, the band does have a Radiohead influence, but that still doesn't quite hit the mark.

    If you haven't seen any of these bands yet, do go see them when the time comes. Your ears will be well fed.

    Mark Bignell is an advocate of local and independently made music.

    He can be heard Friday nights on Radio Bandcouver, 10pm-Midnight on 102.7 FM CFRO. You can visit on line at www.bandcouver.com

     





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