By Alex Young
Photos by Skylar Santimeau
Vancouver has created one of the most vibrant indie rock scenes in Canada, comparable to that of Montreal, especially with independent acts currently on the rise. The combination of acts like Rubacava and Echo Nebraska playing together at Vancouver’s Hidenburg makes for a fitting example.
Echo Nebraska has an uncanny ability to use instruments traditionally associated with country or folk music and seamlessly blend them into their own brand of soul-infused indie rock, with a flare for memorable pop hooks. With the addition of flourishing violin passages, the music is subtly enriching without being flashy or overbearing, in a way reminiscent of the Punch Brothers or Dave Matthews Band. The band made unique use of the piano, accenting the remaining instruments with tasteful sonic textures and a variety of serene melodies.
Guitarist Andy Schichter witched between electric guitar, keyboards and banjos emphasizing the band’s musical. Songs like “Nice Philosophy” and “I’ll Get it Right” allows the band to shine. Lead vocalist Devan Christodoulou proved via his performance that the band is no fluke, by allowing his voice to illuminate each track with an understated nuance, especially on their single “Hey Allison”. Echo Nebraska is making a name for themselves with their debut EP Send the Ships, but their live performance will definitely have them accumulating an audience of their own this summer on the festival circuit.
Rubacava took the stage to promote their sophomore release The Magnet EP brought their electrified funk to life with their soulfully sincere songwriting. The duality of the male and female vocals reflects the vivid dynamics within the music, creating contrast between their subdued verses in many songs with vivid melodies, as in “Magneta” and “When I’m Coming Down”. Songs like “End of April” showcase Rubacava’s ability to switch gears effortlessly by swinging from electric rock combined with pop sensibilities to a piano driven soul tinged track. Rubacava is vigorously spirited onstage with their energetic performance.
The highlight of the night was their dance inducing track “Black Calico,” which sparked the audience into motion with its vibrant melodies and various guitar licks, piano hooks and dynamic vocals. With the pulsating bass lines and bombastic drumming over the lyrics “Darkness/with a venomous kiss/that’d bring a demon down/to its knees” definitely had the crowd flowing with the infectious energy of the track and is bound to be the band’s next single.