The Gig: Feast in the East 21 concert series with Yacht Club, Digits, Beta Frontiers, Miss Elizabeth
Where: Polyhaus, Toronto, Ontario
When: Friday 4 January 2013
In One Word: Nerdfest
How often do you go to a concert and see a girl at the front dancing her ass off while sketching pictures of the bands in her notepad? And then see a group of adult males and females grab a bunch of glow bracelets from the headline band to create the quint-forces of nature that summon Captain Planet? And then proceed to have the mother of all digression sessions by talking about Captain Planet at great length while fact-checking on their smart phones? This was my first time, but I imagine every Yacht Club gig will be this wild.
Yacht Club is the new project led by Toronto musician and producer Ben Cook, who up until now was best known for being part of T-dot’s favourite hardcore-punk-slash-experimental-rock-opera genre-smashing eponym’s Fucked Up. What a mouthful. Yacht Club is less about mosh pits and dying on the inside, and more about dry ice, disco lights and fruit juice. It’s a totally different musical vessel, and one which schmooze-cruised its way onto the stage of new east-end DIY venue space Polyhaus.
To see a show at Polyhaus: get your Google Maps app at the ready, head east of Yonge, catch the red rocket down from Pape Station, enter the big building at 388 Carlaw and its maze of curious rooms with green doors, and then follow your ears to the third floor. On your way upstairs, don’t forget to ‘accidentally’ peak inside the door to the rock climbing place to gander at its budding Spidermen and Spiderwomen. In the case of Feast In The East at Polyhaus, follow your noses too, because this gig series serves up free food with its music. The sight and smell of people navigating the packed-out Polyhaus added to the friendly atmosphere. Thankfully there was also a coat check space to leave your winter jacket, because this space quickly heated up with bodies.
Before the yacht rock pop voyage, there was some suitably on-theme electronica and lo-fi from Miss Elizabeth, Beta Frontiers and Digits. There were decks, synthesizers and Macbooks aplenty. All three bands did a decent job of setting the tone with some interesting sets. Beta Frontiers could really use some live vocals to liven up their set. Of the first bands, it was Digits who made the most memorable impression. Despite some shaky moments — a couple of technical hitches which saw his set stand cold mid song for what was probably 40 seconds but must have felt like 5 minutes — Digits persevered and the friendly crowd was on his side. The Deutsche-pop flavours of his music was a good lead in to Yacht Club.
The kitchen had sold out of beer but after a quick shout for a flask, Yacht Club took a swig and started their gig. Ben Cook crooned and interacted with those on edge of the crowd, as Yacht Club got the crowd smiling and bodies moving. The fun factor was high, as the heard of nerds that we all are enjoyed the pop music of Yacht Club. Apparently, Big Wreck’s drummer was among the crowd.
Yacht Club’s set included their forthcoming 12” single Flash, which you can listen to on Bandcamp.
This gig was seriously good fun, which is what Yacht Club seem to be all about. We came, we saw, we left smoking electronic cigarettes and having snowball fights on Carlaw Avenue… Like I said, wild. My talented sketching friend and Music Vice teamster Natascha Malta just managed to avoid getting a snowbath, and you can check out her artwork below. What a hoot.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
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