By Ella Coach
May 7, 2016
VANCOUVER — When Said the Whale first emerged close to a decade ago, dual songwriters Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester were fixated on Vancouver geography; song titles on their first couple of albums included “Howe Sounds,” “The Banks of the English Bay,” and “False Creek Change.” And although the musicians have since moved on in terms of subject matter, their latest local show made it clear that they still have a special place in their heart for their hometown.
The gig was billed as “An Evening with Said the Whale.” This meant that the group played two sets: the first was made up of new material and deep cuts, and the second focused on singles and fan favourites.
During the first set, the Whales dug way back into their catalogue for “Plans for the Future” and “Live Off Lamb,” which earned an enthusiastic response from fans who have doubtless been following the band since its early days. As for the brand new cuts, these displayed some ambitious, keyboard-heavy tendencies: Worcester shed his guitar and theatrically delivered the synth-rock anthem “Step into the Darkness,” while Bancroft introduced the spiky, romantic “Fucks to Give” as a three-minute “rock opera.”
After a brief break, the five-piece returned, and the hits came in quick succession. Power-pop bangers “I Love You” and “Camilo (The Magician)” were euphoric sing-alongs, “Love Is Art/Sleep Through Fire” earned roars of approval with cloud-parting crescendos, and “Goodnight Moon” got the floor dancing when it exploded from a ukulele lullaby into a bubblegummy rave-up.
As the set wound down, Bancroft acknowledged his many personal friends in attendance, and Worcester gushed about his love for Vancouver. From this rapport with the crowd it was clear that, although the band’s fan base now extends across the country, there’s still no place quite like home.BC, British Columbia, Fox Cabaret, Said the Whale