There were 10 acts altogether, and New West's Columbia Theatre was abuzz with activity when I arrived and took my seat. Artists were to-ing and fro-ing all over the place, the door to the back stage and green rooms was in constant motion, and there was a big sound check going on, led by rock band JFR's front man, Jean-Francois Roy.
The showcase's co-headliner featured Edmonton industrial metal act KingDoom, which had a special guest playing with them for the western leg of the tour, Chris Vrenna. Vrenna, if you don't know, was Nine Inch Nails' drummer and also drummer for Marilyn Manson, and he's also a producer, who actually produced KingDoom's new self-titled CD. Apparently, he's a grammy winner.
The other head liner was Canadian hip hop artist, Poppy Seed.
But the big draw for me personally was seeing a band I've become quite fond of recently, Celestial Ruin, who signed with HMP in the late spring.
But before we get to that, let's go through the line-up and give some link love to the other bands on the night's bill.
The evening was emceed by Fall of Cain mainman Travis Dean, who was charismatic and very enthusiastic as he cruised through the evening introducing everyone.
Next up was Vancouver hip hop artist Stray One, from Vancouver suburb, Langley. AKA Nicholas James Bergeron, he performed a couple of songs (all the sets were very short leading up to the headliners) that were OK as far as I could tell - I am not a hip hop person at all, but I liked his subject matter.
Third was rock artist Joelle, who has a new album out called "Pillar of Stone", and fourth up was another rock act called Burning Daisy, featuring an Irish-born singer named Liz. I really liked this band a lot, be sure to check them out!
Fall of Cain (their HMP page is here). Hailing from Victoria, this band sits somewhere between hard rock and heavy metal on the musical spectrum, and had lots of great stage presence. Travis was a great performer and wore these funky steampunk-ish sunglasses. This is definitely a band to be on the lookout for, they were excellent!
Following Fall of Cain, Jean-Francois got up to perform with his band, the HMP showcases house band, JFR. Based in Edmonton, this is another band to watch out for - they were great live and did a fantastic set. They even have a music video out for one of their singles, "Take Me As I Am."
The seventh band was a last minute addition to the bill, a Vancouver-based band called Crashing Angels. OK, this band actually surprised me. Never heard of them, and when they were doing their set-up, I could tell that they were significantly older than all the other bands playing. I was a little skeptical, when I saw them, expecting perhaps something more traditional and perhaps blander than what I got, which was an excellent set of hard rock! Vocalist Dean Marshall Pilkey was purely awesome - he just killed it, and this was one of my favourite performances of the night! This band has had the same line-up for 11 years, incidentally, and I'm going to have to see if I can catch them live again because I enjoyed them that much.
|Larissa Dawn of Celestial Ruin|
Finally, after about three hours of music, the final act was on, and that was the aforementioned co-headliner, Poppy Seed. As he took the stage, a couple of scantily clad dancers undulated down the two aisles of the theatre and took up spots right up in front of the stage and started dancing away to something obviously choreographed. As I said, I'm not a hip hop person, and I have to be honest, this was not a good way to end the evening for me. I didn't enjoy Poppy Seed at all and found him rather slow and boring. It was late, and I had to skytrain back to my suburban lair, so I ended up leaving during this guy's set. I feel slightly guilty about it...But I did get to have a last-minute chat with some of Celestial Ruin's members and that was nice.
So overall, this was a great evening of music and entertainment! Thanks to HMP for inviting me, and thanks to all the bands and artists for a memorable evening.