Thursday, May 10, 2012

Katie Herzig at the Biltmore

Nearly a year ago I was reading Donald Miller's blog when something he wrote caught my attention.  He was raving about an amazing indie artist he loved named Katie Herzig.  I love finding new, kind of obscure artists, so I checked out her music and promptly fell in love.

Katie's music is varied and crosses multiple genres.  She's got an sweet, pure voice that kind of rings, thoughtful lyrics, and she plays a mean guitar.  After listening to a bunch of her stuff, I found the song that clinched it for me - "I Hurt Too" - and officially declared myself a fan.  

A month or so ago, a friend from Winnipeg alerted me to the fact that Katie was doing a show in Vancouver!  It didn't take me long to suggest that tickets would be a great Mother's Day gift.   Mike is really quick with things like that when I strongly suggest them, so he ordered them.

The long-awaited show was Tuesday night and it was full of goodness with some sweet surprises thrown in.  The venue was the Biltmore Cabaret in Mount Pleasant.  I love this part of town.  It's probably got the highest concentration of hipsters anywhere in Vancouver.  There are lots of guys wearing plaid and sporting beards wandering around.  The Biltmore is an iconic Vancouver venue.  It's in the basement of a dark dingy hotel.  It's full of high backed velvet booths, embossed wallpaper and dark wood, and you feel like you're in a different era when you're there.

We arrived a touch early, so we took a little stroll for coffee and dessert before the show.

We got back to the Biltmore, got carded (yeah!) and found out that there would be an opening act  named Andrew Belle.  We had never heard of him before so we had no idea what to expect.  

Well, it became quite clear, quite quickly, that the ladies love him -  especially twenty-something ladies. He was surrounded by a throng of them the minute he walked up on stage.  He had some great tunes to play, and one of them has been stuck in my head for the past two days, it's that good.  If you want a taste of Andrew Belle's music, you can listen to Sky's Still Blue here.

Katie Herzig and her band took the stage just after 10.  Her set was fantastic.  She played a tonne of music, even indulging some fans in playing requests acoustically that she hadn't planned on playing.  Amazingly, there were only about 75 people in the place, so it kind of felt like she was playing in your living room at a house party.  Her band is incredibly multi-faceted with her bass player singing back-up, playing keyboard, percussion, clarinet, french horn, and ukulele.  Katie Herzig is quiet, unassuming, and very genuine on stage.  There was no pretense at all - which paved the way for some very raw and beautiful moments.

Here is the classic self-photograph of me and Mike at the show, posted here for posterity.  
I'm glad I've got a music loving companion to hang out with.

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