Hub plays host to Raleigh
Hipster bands kick off ‘By Request Wednesdays’
On Jan.11, The Hub opened its doors again after the holidays for the first “By Request Wednesdays’’ of 2012. Not one to usually catch the activities at the Hub outside of the odd wing night, the lineup of Calgary’s own Boreal Sons and Raleigh was a nice surprise.
Excited at the chance to feel like a hipster on campus, this seemed like a great way to spend the night, especially for free.
Boreal Sons, a folk-rock band slowly making their way up in Calgary’s music scene after releasing their EP Whom Thunder Hath Made Greater last year, were a welcome treat at The Hub. Even though it was just Evan Wesley Acheson on keys and vocals and Zachary Taylor Schultz on bass, the two were able to fill the room as if they weren’t down two other members.
The best thing that Boreal Sons have going for them is Acheson’s voice and lyrics. Providing an almost hauntingly distinct melody, it seemed he did his best to give a great show to a limited audience. Sticking mostly with material from the EP for the night, the two bridged songs together that likely sounded natural to those with no prior experiences with the band. With Acheson putting in such an effort that he could be very successful in a solo act, the music that Schultz (and the rest of the band when present) gives towards the collaboration is just icing on the cake, and should be enough to garner the band attention outside of Calgary.
Just for the night though, they more than accomplished a solid set as an opening band.
Switching over to Raleigh right afterwards took a bit of an adjustment.
A side project in name only, they are just another one of the bands in Calgary that seems to be sharing members every which way (including The Dudes, Dojo Workhorse, Woodpigeon, Axis of Conversation, and The Consonant C to name a few). While consisting of only three members, there is a range of sound that comes out of them. Brock Geiger charms audiences with his guitar, while Clea Anais dazzles on the cello and keys. Matt Doherty takes the drums, and Geiger and Anais split vocal duty.
While Boreal Sons wowed with their vocals and their lyrics, it was the instrumentation that really drew in the audience at The Hub — and for good reason. The band promotes what they are creating with their hands more than anything. The self-described “Prolk” (prog-folk) band was incredibly in-sync with each other, as they have to be with the type of music they play. Geiger and Anais sing and play almost as if their melodies and descants were flirting with one another, Doherty keeps the entire thing together and rolling smoothly. Having seen shows both with and without Doherty, it is apparent that Raleigh can definitely hold their own without their rhythm section, but thrive with it. While their lyrics can sometimes be lost in all that is going on, it does not hinder the band to the point where it is a turn off.
While I cannot say this night alone has convinced me to start checking the shows being presented by The Hub more often, it was a very nice way to ring in the New Year at Mount Royal’s campus pub.
Hopefully these types of nights can continue growing to the point where they attract an audience that’s excited about coming out to scheduled shows instead of the few who ended up getting an added bonus to their Wednesday night out.