Reviews:: The Great Outdoors CD Release @ The Chapel


It's been a long time since I've been to a show where a group of friends play for only their friends. I miss showing up for a small show, seeing a bunch of my friends mingling amongst the crowd, laughing when they set up their gear. The show is fantastic because you love everyone who's there not just theband that's playing. Does that make any sense? I'm not sure, but Thursday night, instead of filing into the Commodore or Richard's on Richards, I dragged my ass over to the Chapel for the Great Outdoors CD release party. I enjoyed Food, Booze, and Entertainment - as you can read here, but I knew seeing the songs performed live in a tiny venue would be a completely different experience.

The Chapel was the ideal spot for this show and helped set the tone for the whole night. A small art gallery, the stage that hosted the Adam Nation led Vancouver collective was about eighteen inches off the ground. A collection of guitars, banjos, and mandolins littered the floor. They had set up tables and chairs, and threw in a little bar serving reasonably priced drinks. All in all, you can't ask for much more.

As the night progressed, I realized this show was more a tribute to the people who helped Adam create this record than a celebration of the album itself. The cast of musicians on stage rotated like the Rubic's cube in Pursuit of Happyness, with friends jumping on stage on a whim and beefing up the sound (backing vocal, trumpets, guitar solos) where they saw fit. The crowd hooted and hollared, but only as each song finished. No one talked over the band. People made sure everyone could see. It was as refreshing an experience as I've been a part of in Vancovuer.

Musically, which is the most important part obviously, TGOD sounded great. Tearing through songs both new and old, the band laughed and smiled through the mistakes that come from being an 18-piece collective with "no time to actually practice", but the songs were high in energy and sincerity. I've actually never heard a front man ask the crowd if they needed a break for a smoke, but Adam politely (maybe for his own benefit) gave us the option.

Some of the standout tracks were Jamaican Prison Song, Mysterious Proportion, and the opening number Chekhov and I. I get the feeling this band could play all night and never run out of songs or energy. In an age where openers fall off tours, bands take forever to set up and are ambivalent to playing (and a smile is rarely part of the dress code), The Great Outdoors stands out. So much so that when they play at Pat's Pub in two weeks, I suggest any Vancouver resident who likes music be in attendance.
MP3:: If I Were a Car



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