The Veils didn’t have a chance, really. Despite critical acclaim, rollicking live shows, singer Finn Andrews’ wide, clear voice, and the promise of a new album (Time Stays, We Go) out 4/29…The Veils were no match for the particular brand of 4/20 crazy that had rocked up at their Vancouver show.
In a city known for its tremendous pot-headery (which is fiiine with me, man), the Electric Owl on this night attracted a weird group. The crowd were a combination of boring dinner and date-night couples (“…and I’ll have a side of whatever band is playing, please!”) overdressed girls awaiting the club night afterwards, complete asshats and a smattering of actual fans.
To the right, Dumb & Dumber: impossible to ignore, wankered and obnoxious, two superfan boys took over the front row. Singing louder than Andrews and out of tune, clapping out of beat, screaming during the quiet bits (or during their own videoing), trying to slap the band’s hands in between songs – wow, they were a special kind of ENTIRE SET ANNOYANCE.
Erase the fanboys, though, and the songs were good – easy-listening, airy UK indie rock with moments of genuine lost-in-the-musicky rockness. But it was hard to hear those songs - I had to wedge an earplug in one ear to block out the douchebags, and close my eyes to avoid the unwanted stimulus. For the first song, the band looked bemused at the chaos, for the rest, they powered through with a workmanlike manner, with Andrews finally taking a mild potshot through a strained smile at the braying bros (“I want to play this song for you because you’ve been so great”) towards the end of the set.
Then, to the left, Drunk Middle-Aged Couple. Clearly there for shits and giggles, not the band. Well done for making out for 5+ minutes directly in front of guitarist Dan Raishbrook on the low stage. Way to respect the band and everyone around you!
And finally on the far right, the Stage Left Stoners! Thanks, ladies, for deciding to crawl on stage and hop around next to bassist Sophia Burn. Yes! I can see that you’re wearing a Nux Vomica shirt! But no! No, I don’t want to look at it anymore! If I’d wanted to hang out at the Roxy I would have – I paid to see a band from London, not you. And BONUS: oh look a second dolt on stage. This one so far gone that after the show she tried to talk to us using only consonants.
But the band played on. Running through a whack from Time Stays, starting with “Train with No Name”, and including “Through the Deep Dark Wood”, “The Pearl” “Turn from the Rain” and ”Out from the Valley & Into the Stars” as well as “Calliope!”, “Birds”,”Vicious Traditions” and “Nux Vomica” among the rest of the set, the Veils played well, but with a sort of reservation on their faces that reflected what I was thinking: let’s just get through this/maybe they’ll shut up eventually/how can you tear down fans?
How, indeed. But I wish Andrews’ had.
Still, with my one pro-drummer earplug wedged as deeply as possible in my right ear and my eyes closed, it was a little bit easier to dig the Veils. Just not everyone else. In fact, you can take your reefer madness and get off my lawn, you goddamn whippersnappers. \m/
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