It's official. I'm a big Sweet Thing fan. Like BIG. How do I know? 1) This is the second time (the first time was at the Media Club in June) I've seen the band in one year and 2) this concert marked only the second time in my life that I purchased tickets to see an opening band (the first time was NIN and David Bowie in 1995 which doesn't really count 'cause NIN was as much the headliner as Bowie was). In reality, the title of this post should be "Justin Nozuka & Guests at The Vogue" but I knew (and continue to know) little about Justin Nozuka aside from the fact that he's Canadian and that I've seen him talk in the pre-show tape at the movie theatres. Yeah, well versed.
We hit Cafe Crepe for a pre-show dinner (yummy panini with crispy fries and a cold beer after a long day at the office) before heading to the show. Now, The Vogue isn't necessarily a bad venue but it is a bad venue for live music. I may be old and it may be uncomfortable to stand for long periods of time but at shows, when you're moving around, it's not so bad. But when you have a band as high energy as Sweet Thing, it's strange being glued to your seat.
The band took the stage at 7:30 sharp and played a rocking 30 minute set. As good as the first time we saw them but this is definitely not the venue for them. I'm not much of a radio listener so other than the web sensations, I have no idea what's popular but I have heard Sweet Thing on CBC and if the fan reception at this show was any indication, they'll be making a pretty big splash on the music front in the coming months. I only hope they headline their next Vancouver stop and that the show is at a better venue.
They finished with one of my favourite tunes off of their debut album which is out now (more details on that here) "Change of Seasons." Sounded pretty much like this:
After a short stage clearing, Justin Nozuka and his band came on to the glee of the adoring fans (lots of girls for Mr. Nozuka). After one song, I mentioned to Special K that I thought his music was "music to make love to" but really, that's not the best explanation. It's a mix of country, blues, afro/jamaican beats that are just a little too mellow for me. There was one tune which was heavy on the instrumentation that we both really enjoyed but after 5 songs, we called it a day and left partway through the set. We came for what we wanted to see. No use in sitting through a show neither of us was enjoying. It's not a case of a bad performance as he's certainly a talented individual with a great voice; just a case of "not my cup of tea."
One thing worth mentioning is that Special K noted that in some parts, Justin was reminiscent of blues rocker(s) Kenny Wayne Shepperd. She's absolutely right and if he had stayed with that sort of style, I would have made it through the show. If you don't remember him, check out this wicked live rendition "Blue on Black" which should shake up your memory.
Overall, a fun night, even if we didn't get a "full" show.