Written by: Rob Latham
Three of British Columbia’s hottest rising musical talents went head-to-head in a battle of the bands contest at the Commodore Ballroom, in Vancouver, on Friday night (January 22) with Kelowna rockers We Are The City scooping the whopping $150,000 first prize.
The progressive indie rock trio put on an impressive display, oozing musical confidence far beyond their mere 19 years of age and thoroughly deserved to win the final of the Peak Performance Project, an annual event bringing together the best musical talent in the province. The trio fought off stiff competition from second-placed The Left and third-placed Bend Sinister, who walked away with a cool $75,000 and $50,000 respectively.
We Are The City has what it takes to be the next big thing to come out of Vancouver, their live shows are a special experience due to the intensity and love the band members put into their music. And this show was no different as the band fully embraced the opportunity to perform on the stage of what is undoubtedly Vancouver’s best live venue.
Lead singer and keyboard player Cayne McKenzie‘s voice was more intense and impressive than ever, while drummer Andy Huculiak and guitarist David Menzel, whose amazing Jimi Hendrix-esque guitar technique using his mouth is always a hit with audiences, exhuded an overwhelming energy that provided an unforgettable set.
Major highlights of the evening included two of the band’s most popular tracks ‘April’ and the infective ‘There Are Very Tiny Beasts In The Ground,’ as well as a special performance of brand new track ‘This Is A Bad Mistake.’
For anyone who hasn’t seen We Are The City perform live you really are missing out, they are an addictive hybrid of the melodic harmonies of Radiohead and the raw edginess of Muse that fused together creates a truly unique sound.
The final showcase of the Peak Performance Project was indicative of the number of young, talented bands emerging from British Columbia. Despite coming in third place Vancouver rockers Bend Sinister put on an incredible show that perhaps did not deserve to see them come in third position, with lead singer Dan Moxon displaying superb stage presence, crowd interaction and musicality.
The band’s set carried a huge sound that was intensified by the Commodore Ballroom acoustics, with sounds ranging from Queen-esque granduoso to Arctic Monkeys-like heavy riffs, combined to create an entertaining performance.
Second placed The Left carried a more poppy sound, a slightly more radio-friendly offering that didn’t carry the same intensity as the other two bands but encumbered excellent on-stage presence, including an appearance from Vancouver’s famous ‘Green Men’ on their final track.
But the evening really belonged to We Are The City. As soon as they played their set there was only ever going to be one winner in the contest and this victory, plus the $150,000 kitty, should be a plateau for the band to become huge in 2010.
You can see We Are The City perform live at the Biltmore Cabaret, in Vancouver, on Wednesday night (January 27).