Saturday, September 11, 2010

Free Energy at The Biltmore (Vancouver)

I arrived at 9:30 last night, just in time for the show to start. I feel sorry for anyone who came for the door time of 8pm, because the show didn't actually start til almost 11pm.

The crowd was slowly growing in size and in boredom up to that point, but within three songs, Free Energy had the whole mob of sweatered and flannel-clad indie kids moving to their nothing-but-upbeat tunes. Lead singer Paul Sprangers quickly noted several hot babes wearing moustaches at the front of the crowd.

A few songs in, someone at the front shouted something about the guitarist ripping off The Ramones. Paul quickly shot back, "and Springsteen too!" Then it dawned on me why I like this band so much. I like to say that I'm not into classic rock because all the overplayed songs annoy me, but in truth, I love finding the gems among the lesser-known tunes of Billy Joel, the Stones, Rod Stewart, even The Beatles. Free Energy is a chart-topping 70s rock band, singing teenage anthems in an alternate universe. Fortunately for us, they have crossed over through time and space to our present day.

Later in the set, my mind began to wander, but snapped back when a song ended and Paul mentioned he was thirsty. Someone asked him what he wanted and he said "any local brew that's good." A few songs later, a fan named Chad walked on stage with a grin on his face and a tray of six pints, saying "Here's some local beer, guys!" Paul pointed the mic in his direction and Chad said, "I just wanted to say, you guys made my Sasquatch [Festival], and you weren't even there!" Paul looked confused and everyone laughed until they began the next song.

The band continued to play and came to a song, I think it's called "Bad Stuff", that showed off their less cheerful and more dramatic side. The guitarists broke into a slow, grinding solo after the bridge—the kind that makes you close your eyes and drift off into the distortion field.

More silly stage antics—a power cord suddenly falls from the ceiling right in front of Paul, and he quips, "This place feels like it's run by young people. Like the cast of The Goonies. There's no man." He's probably right, but maybe it's why we all love going to The Biltmore to see a band we don't know but have heard good things about.

Free Energy - Bang Pop[zshare][YSI]
Free Energy - Free Energy[zshare][YSI]
Previously reviewed: Free Energy - Dream City

Check out Free Energy on their US tour from now til the end of the month. Their LCD Soundsystem-produced debut Stuck On Nothing is out now on DFA.


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