Sunday, July 6, 2008

Live:: Rich Aucoin & i see rowboats @ The Music Room

As the Ack mentioned earlier, we headed out Friday night to check out a couple shows, the first of which was a double header featuring two rising Halifax acts, i see rowboats and Rich Aucoin at The Music Room in Halifax.

Although both of those acts are very stellar, and two of my favorites from last year, the venue itself was a big part of the attraction last night. I'd heard good things about The Music Room, which is described on its website as:

Halifax’s newest cultural resource, The Music Room, offers one of the finest acoustic spaces in Canada. The Music Room accommodates an audience of 110, houses a 9’ New York-built, Steinway grand piano (Model D), and boasts a 24-track digital recording studio for live or session recording.

That sounds impressive, but the facility is perhaps even more impressive in person. It appears brand new, with a modern-architecture design outside, and bright colours and wood-paneled walls inside. The acoustics, as you might imagine, are just really, really good. So, as a result, you get to sit in a intimate environment and listen to great music. That is a solid combo, so if you're planning your own show at The Music Room, let us know, there's a good chance we'll come check it out.

Anyway, back to the show at hand. i see rowboats led off the evening, and it was evident from the opening song that the venue was a perfect fit for their string-heavy, orchestral pop. I mean we were sitting at pretty much the back of the first floor (it's a small space mind, only like 5 rows), and we could hear even the most subtle finger-pluck of a violin string perfectly. The band played sitting down, which was a change of pace no doubt, but they seemed to have fun with it: changing up instruments (Lisa Lipton alternated between viola and piano, Solomon Vromans played cello, bass, sax, and I believe the oboe(!) at one point) and they also tried a couple different arrangements - playing Mine & Strike sans drums and doing Cars with only guitar and vocal accompanyment.

I believe they played their whole EP, and a few new songs that were all very good (one they introduced as "untitled" was especially solid). I've been a big ISR fan since reviewing their EP, but I have to say that now I'm really looking forward to a full-length release from the band. This was the Ack's first time seeing ISR, and I don't think I'm putting words in his mouth by saying he was a little blown away by them (Ack says - most definitely. They sounded amazing).

As per our newly established show routine, Ack and I arrived way early for the show, but it worked out well as it allowed us a chance to talk with Rich while he was setting up. As I expected, he's a very nice, very engaging fellow and we talked for a bit about his recent tour where he travelled back across the country from Victoria (including Vancouver, giving Rich & the Ack a chance to bond over west-coast memories) to Halifax recording new songs with tons of friends along the way, and about his new song-synching project. This time, instead of synching songs to a studio-owned movie and risk another cease & desist order (really Dr. Suess & co, for shame), Rich found a number of movies that are public domain and is splicing those into a new movie. They are older films like It's A Wonderful Life, "some old Hitchcock movie", and the original Superman cartoon, but I have no doubt once they are spliced together the end product will be pretty impressive.

Rich came out in an all white ensemble and proceeded to do a mix of songs from his debut Personal Publication and his new work. I loved Rich's debut, and I'd been meaning to catch him live to see how he could re-create the lush sound on the album. Turns out it's relatively easy. With the help of his laptop, the studios big Steinway, a cleverly-stashed trumpet, a drummer, and a crazy mini synth of some fashion, he easily re-created the albums sound. Both Ack and I thought the new songs sounded really good too, and even though Rich had some some minor technical difficulites, I certainly enjoyed the set a great deal. According to Rich he's planning to finish recording in the fall and aim for perhaps a January release. There's an album I'll have my anticipate on for, so surely we'll come up with a preview post or two for it.

So that's it, a great venue, two great acts = equals an enjoyable evening for the hill.


i see rowboats - St. Peter Valentine
Rich Aucoin - Behold The Lamb

Posted at 8:59 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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