Doors at 6:30pm
Two of Victoria’s favourite live bands together at Wicket Hall.
Pastel Blank Art-rock and funk join hands in a marriage of stutter and groove, officiated by Pastel Blank. Formed in 2019, the Victoria-based project is led by singer/songwriter Angus Watt. Pulling influence from the jerky rhythms and genre-blending curiosity of Talking Heads as well as the interlocking guitar-work of Canadian post-punk luminaries Women, the music of Pastel Blank cloaks experimentation in pop-minded song structure. Skeletal, wobbly guitars squeeze around the propulsive engine of thumping bass and drums, driving the beat forward as Watt’s percussive voice weaves a stream of cryptics into tongue-in-cheek wordplay reminiscent of Stephen Malkmus or Dan Bejar. Their new EP, Pastel Blanc, is out now. Having been recorded with fellow Victoria-based music multi-hyphenate David Parry, known for producing fellow Vancouver Island acts, Loving and Jons, as well as the highly acclaimed international artist, Alice Phoebe Lou, the Pastel Blanc EP is an eclectic jumble of wonderfully wonky guitar-tones, picturesque storytelling, and an altogether clockwork of uncanny grooves that’ll make you shake it like you didn’t know you could.
The Bankes Brothers – With the release of their forthcoming In Waves EP, The Bankes Brothers are about to light up Canada’s indie-rock scene and ignite audiences everywhere.
The Victoria, BC four-piece—brothers Nelson and Morgan Bankes on vocals and guitar, lead guitarist Carson Cleaver, and drummer Gray Oxley—formed in a pool hall one Friday night in 2017. Less than a week later, they played their first gig. Delivering a dynamic set list ranging from Otis Redding to Talking Heads, the former high school classmates were overwhelmed by an undeniable musical chemistry. Within three days of the first show, they had written a handful of original songs, including an early version of “See Me Run”, the EP’s soulful, swelling closing track.
Determined to grow their own sound, over the next year the band played every gig available—from community fairs to jazz clubs—and rapidly built a reputation for wailing new life into classic hits. This acclaim landed the band a residency at the former Canoe Club in 2019, where they sharpened their live show every weekend in front of raucous audiences—until the pandemic abruptly pulled the plug. Filled with the electricity and drive of their live shows, the band used the pressure cooker of lockdown to channel their creative energy into writing fresh songs. When the world opened back up many months later, The Bankes Brothers came bursting out with a refined sense of direction and purpose.
The result is In Waves, a six-track shot of dopamine spilling over with irresistibly catchy melodies, exhilarating vocals, and joyous indie-rock instrumentation. Produced and recorded by indie legend Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat, The Zolas, Mounties), the EP is the culmination of the band’s wide-ranging influences–from Elvis to The Strokes, Paul Simon to The Pixies—coming together in a way that defies sonic parallels, yet remains welcomingly familiar. The first release has the pretty grittiness of The Lumineers, the free-wheeling energy of the late-aughts indie bands, and the powerhouse belting of blues-rock contemporaries like Marcus King. Yet the sum of these parts is something fresh, exciting, and uniquely vibrant within the current sea of sleepy vocals and sedated guitar tones. The Bankes Brothers sound like the youthful high of a late-night romance and the blissful stagger home the next morning.
The honest simplicity of Bankes’ lyrics leaves space for the energetic melodies to pick us up and sweep us away, again and again and again. The EP’s title track just begs to be belted out, whether driving in your car or locked arm-in-arm with your best friend at one of the band’s electric live shows. A common theme running throughout In Waves is the universal coming-of-age moment when one is about to break free from the confines of childhood and step—or run—into the next phase of life. The debut begins and ends with The Bankes Brothers on the move— “Walkin’ to the Beat” and “See Me Run”—a fitting reflection of a band that is about to hit its stride.