EDvent/ Sidney York @ The Artery

Downtown's Artery set the stage for a memorable night of indie melodies and torrid compositions by way of Sid York, et al

BY EMIL TIEDEMANN

The Artery
THERE were two curious bright red doors that seemed painted onto the back wall of The Artery, decal'd in what some might suspect is alleyway graffiti. I entered through the left one, enticed by what was on the other side.

A pretty, young woman greeted me from behind some counter, and then put a checkmark beside my name on the guest list, confirming my arrival. But I had to wait for my cohort to show up before I could probe the rest of this rooted-yet-new-to-me venue I'd been invited to before, though had yet to accept.

When he arrived we shuffled along some sort of plywood(ish) floor, making our way past a quasi-make-do bar with a limited option of hootch. But what mattered was that they served my option of hootch.

We made our way into this comparably-spacious room with a ready-to-go stage, a booth for the lighting & sound crew, assorted candlelit tables & fold-up chairs, and artwork I could only distinguish as abstract. At the side of the stage, my buddy and I found an empty table, as the Artery filled up with alike live music partisans.

It was shortly past 9PM by the time Vancouver's beekeeper settled behind their particular instruments and tore into their lively set. Frontman Devon Lougheed essentially carried the show, parading the stage like some veteran rock star, and blistering the mic with punk-fused pop tales that had him invoking Isaac Brock from time to time.

Over screeching from a heavy bass and the peeling of the violin, Lougheed solicited an audience presence, feeding us uptempo songs that lasted as short as 40 seconds, yet no longer than a few minutes, while we chugged back complimentary cans of Big Rock. They warmed up the crowd, no doubt, testing our energy with their own. His own.

beekeeper's Devon Lougheed with Sidney York
Kaley Bird

But it proved unnecessary, as follow-up Kaley Bird--who helped organize last year's inaugural SOS Fest--simmered our pep with her low-key scene. Bird, shoeless and draped for a more formal occasion, handled her songlist with shameless familiarity, strumming through cuts like "Ghost Town," "Where Does That Leave Me Now?," and the misleading "Happy Birthday."

The only hiccup was a possibly, probably misconstrued "SLUT!" that was bellowed from the back of the room somewhere, just before Bird broke into only her second song. The crowd fell momentarily silent, an awkward rush that paralyzed everyone for a brief instant. "That was rude," Bird tactfully answered back. "My mom's in the audience and she'll kick your ass!" We laughed it off.

Sidney York & co.
There was a 20-minute intermission before headliner--and co-SOS Fest organizer--Sidney York, clad in a body-gripping dress and heels, borrowed the mic to lend us earshots of mostly new songs from her upcoming Apocalyptic Radio Cynic album. Songs built around affairs & encounters, road trip adventures, and even a swine flu episode (the rumbling "Doctor Doctor"), and surrendered via 6-piece pulsations of the drums, the bass, an electric guitar, an intermittent ukulele, and even alike oboe and bassoon. Actually, York even braved the French horn, despite her alleged, and then apparent callowness of the uncustomary instrument.

But the most commanding musical apparatus had to be the rhythmic hand clapping, the foot stomps on the hardwood stage, and of course, York's lucid vocals, assuring us of the legitimacy of her lyricism and the authenticity of her delivery. At times, the stage trembled, such as in "Mile High Love," a song heightened by a carefree tambourine and the "You get me" chants from York's accompanying crooners.

It was near midnight when the stage fell silent and York left the room. The lights remained dim, and the standing-room-only crowd finished off their drinks and conversations. My friend and I went to leave, but not before the customary "congrats" and "thanks," and a bonus hug from York herself. How can one ask for a better end to a stellar night? Seriously, I'm asking!

If you wanna pre-order York's soon-to-be-released record, Apocalyptic Radio Cynic (April 12)--and why wouldn't you?--click here.

Below is a clip of Sidney York's "Stalker."

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