The PEAK Performance Finale: The Matinee, Current Swell, & The Boom Booms @ the Commodore, Vancouver, Nov. 17, 2011
Well. It’s all over, and I don’t know where to start.
I’ll try from the beginning.
The PEAK Performance Project began this past May when 20 BC bands were selected amidst hundreds of entries to compete for the top prize of $100,500. The final result of this project may be represented in monetary gains of over $225,000 but the bands who made the top 20 will tell you that it’s about so much more than the money. Exposure, education and information were as highly touted as the grand prize, and most would agree that the money is simply the icing on the cake.
Well, this past Thursday, one band was going to be licking said icing off the proverbial cake with a large novelty sized cheque valued at $100,500. But before that would happen, each of the three finalists would perform to a sold out Commodore Ballroom.
The Matinee were the first band on stage. This was the third time I had seen them play, but this was their by far their best performance I’ve witnessed. Matt Layzell was as composed a frontman as you could ask for, oozing with confidence, but not in an arrogant way. Matt Rose (aka. Banjo Jesus) slew—er—slayed the crowd with his phenomenal guitar and banjo wizardry. The rest of the band were just as tight, as usual. After playing hits such as Sweetwater and Let Her Go, the boys killed a fab version of Zeppelin‘s Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp. And with their last tune, another guitar met its match as Rose smashed it in sync with the final percussive beats of the set. Good luck following that set. Only one band of three done, and the Matinee already had my vote.
The next band up were a few young fellows from Vancouver Island who go by the name of Current Swell. If you listen to 100.5 the PEAK and have done so for some time, you’ll likely know a Current Swell tune, or two. These guys are terribly talented. Their tune Cursed (which can be heard on the PEAK) is definitive of their sound and exemplary of their abilities. Plus, it’s damn catchy. However, the tune Young and Able is definitely the most popular tune in Current Swell‘s catalogue and these boys played it perfectly in front of the sold out crowd: it was obvious by the chorus of cheers that erupted as the first three notes were plucked by frontman Scott Stanton, before he had even begun singing. All in all, Current Swell‘s set was super tight, high energy and truly converted me to a fan, as this was my first chance to see them perform. If you ever have the chance to check these boys out live, do so. Do so.
Up last to close out the amazing night were The Boom Booms. This was also my first time seeing this reggae-rootsy-funk troop. Although, musically, not necessarily my cup of tea, these boys were quite entertaining. If there’s one thing The Boom Booms do well (there are, in fact, plenty) it’s engaging their audience. You know you’ve got the crowd in the palm of your hand when you tell everyone in the audience to crouch down on their knees, and everyone does it. And then to jump, up and dance on the count of three, and everyone does it. Or to sway to far to the left, then to the right, then to the back and back to the front. It probably doesn’t hurt, either, to throw in a cover of Nelly‘s Ride Wit Me. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see The Boom Booms win this whole project solely based on their entertainment skills.
Once The Boom Booms had finished their set, Tamara Stanners from 100.5 the PEAK and Bob D’Eith of PPP co-sponsor Music BC hopped on stage along with a few others to announce the winners of the third annual PEAK Performance Project:
**all photos courtesy of Christine McAvoy**
So that does it for the third and most successful PEAK Performance Project! Although my personal favourites (yes, I’m allowed!) The Matinee didn’t win, I’m super proud of them and feel as though all three of the finalists were worthy of the top prize.
Lastly, I would like to personally thank 100.5 the PEAK, particularly Tamara Stanners for doing such a phenomenal job with this project. Your passion drives this thing. I would also like to thank Bob D’Eith, Savannah Wellman and the rest of the Music BC crew for their co-sponsorship, hard work and tremendous support of the project.
A job well done! Can’t wait for next year!