Better Friends Than Lovers with Glenn Nuotio and Elizabeth Bruce (Thanksgiving, Irene's Pub). BFTL, a fivesome of mostly queer Vancouverites, totally suckerpunched me in my inner teenager when I heard their new CD, Great Loves. As a debut disc, Great Loves is a good calling card for the thrift store / kitchen sink arrangements (two vocalists with sometimes competing vocal lines, a two-keyboard synth player, two guitars, bass, and drums). The live show had a lot of energy and a lot of promise and I'd definitely go see 'em again.
Glenn's set (I guess I've seen him five or six times already) was throatier than normal — he had just returned from Pop Montreal that afternoon after exhaustive partying, he said from stage. But more interesting was the band's rearrangement. He's already undergone one seismic shift in accompaniment (going from traditional rock guitar format to cello-accordian-piano) so seeing him tweak the arrangements shouldn't have surprised me. I have to say I missed Marie-Josee Houle on a few of his songs (Mark even sung one of the counter-melodies into my ear from memory) but Glenn and cellist Patrick Dedauw had such extra sonic freedom that I think it was a net benefit to listeners. Is it permanent?
Opener Elizabeth Bruce has a powerful voice that you can tell she's been working to tame. Her compositions don't go the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift. In fact the piano arrangements were delightfully dissonant. The lyric content put her squarely into the emoter category, but there was a dramatic self-awareness... helpful, even necessary to navigating her dark themes.
Anyway, on the whole, a great night. See you at the next show?