UNISON Music Fest – Night #1

Last night (Friday, November 26), the North Shore Music faithful packed themselves into the Eagle’s Hall @ 170 W.3rd, North Vancouver.

It is all “Hall”, the kind of place you’d have a wedding reception for 100 people or so, but Hamish and his set-decorator/guitar impressario Duane Murrin, had the place looking awesome by showtime.

Laura Smith takes the stage around 8:30, her elfin frame barely filling the stage, but her voice certainly filling the room. It’s a great set of well-played toe tappers, all ending with an endearing smile and a quiet, “Thank you.”

Black Powder Toys power their way through a heartfelt accoustic set. They finish their set with a tip of their hat to The Sandy Cove, the West Vancouver beer hall where most of the people in the room tonight met in one way or another, and “Alive” by Pearl Jam. More than a few grey-haired heads crack a wistful smile.

Nearly two decades ago, I hung a straight jacket-clad Joe Hoskins upside down under a bridge. It wasn’t a fetish phase; it was a video shoot for Dead Head Miles’ track, “Suffocate”. So, when I heard Joe would be drumming tonight for Baked Potato, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Five minutes later, Twitter told the tale: Baked Potato: C- name. A+++ band. They are KILLING it. And they’re having fun too!

It was an absolutely amazing set that could have gone all night. I also wondered if the bass player’s moustache was a regular feature or a Movember thing because that piece of facial awesomeness could have single-handedly cured prostate cancer.

Ten Suns are, from what I could glean from Hamish, moving forward from where The Hermit left off because he wants to take The Hermit back to its origins and continue down the path it was on with Ten Suns. Yeah, I’m confused too. Anyway, none of that mattered when they play. It is melodic and high energy (Lead singer, Red, could get a rave going in an old folks home). In short: Kick ass.

*photographer’s gripe: fucking mic stands

Gonch Messiah… It was so good to see these guys back on stage again. About midway through their set, I think I finally got (after 18 or so years) what Gonch Messiah means as a band name: once they cut into the funk that is their living legacy, a lot of underwear was being led to the promised land on the dance floor. Love.

So a wonderful night was had by all. AND they’re doing it all again tonight (Saturday, November 27).

If this was the opening, I cannot wait for the close.

Tonight’s line-up:

Big Tall Garden w/ Upper Levels, I’m Not Frank, JP & The Black Sheep, and Mark & James

North Vancouver Eagles Hall, 170 West 3rd, North Vancouver. Doors @8. Music @ 8:30

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