THE ARMADILETTANTES CD Release Party with ADJECTIVE
Photography by Leigh Eldridge
It’s a great evening at Beaumont Studios. Milling around the art-gallery-esque building, this is the house party I wish I’d been able to attend in high school. Set up in the show room, a light show projected onto a sheet hanging above the stage, bands complete the final sound check as people filter through the front door. Burlesque dancers mill around, masks abounding at this masquerade, and the crowd couldn’t be more diverse. The Armadilettantes were expecting 100 people. What they didn’t expect was the
Adjective‘s first show ever was with the Canaries two and a half years ago, then they disappeared off of the face of the earth for a year and a half. Tonight they are reunited as they take turns opening for The Armadilettantes. Adjective’s set is short and rather fast. This may be due to the evening running slightly behind schedule, but it’s a solid set. When asked if they were indeed playing faster than usual, drummer Adam Veenedaal shrugged with a smile and replied, “Punk rock.” No further explanation is necessary; Adjective’s music is the kind that you play with whatever tempo seems appropriate. If things speed up, all you can do is follow in the wake.
Before the headliners take the stage, there is a period of time spent setting up the instruments they require. Leigh and I become more and more excited as we see the veritable arsenal that Sean Bayntun drags from the pile of equipment. He set up keys, a synth, a keytar, and by now we’re in a frenzy! I only just received their new album Grrl a few days ago, but I’m very excited to see their show. Before they come on stage, however, the lights turn off and a space is cleared in front of the stage. A spotlight illuminates Nicky Ninedoors, one of the evening’s Burlesque dancers. She ensures adequate space on the floor, and asks that a path be cleared from the door to the stage. Music starts as Voracious V, dressed as a jellyfish, dances to the front of the room. This is the closest I’ve been to porn, and it’s almost too much. Shaking her booty, Voracious V knows how to work it as she dances her way out of her jellyfish costume, article by article. This is exactly the theme of the evening, pushing the envelope of dark cabaret.
1. Something that can be seen or viewed, especially something of a remarkable or impressive nature.
2. A public performance, especially on a lavish scale.
3. A regrettable public display, as of bad behaviour.
4. An impressive or ostentatious exhibition.
The Armadilettantes open with a Stephen Hawking recording announcing that the show is over and everyone should go home. Their first song has a cabaret feel, perfect for the party, which is broken down into a slower, keys-based instrumental section that transitions into my favourite song, ”Haunting the Sky Over the Campbell Valley.” They have their transitions down pat, and it sounds great! Sean Bayntun’s sister Nicole sings harmony for some of the songs, in her burlesque outfit (her stage name is Nicky Ninedoors). After playing a more discordant song called ”I Can Hear Your Face,” it’s Nicky’s turn to dance us to death. She and the guys warn us to clear plenty of space, because “three people died at our last show.” Nicky Ninedoors does marvelous things with her hula hoops, and she wows the crowd with her ellaborate outfits and professional burlesque performance.
After Nicky Ninedoors finishes her dance, the Armadilettantes clear the stage so that lead singer Sean Bletcher can perform a solo acoustic song. There is tremendous response from the crowd, it’s a winner! The rest of the band returns for the rest of the set. I’d have to say that “Guilty Pleasures” is their best live song. At one point, Sean Bletcher tells the audience that “we are all Armadilettantes, but there is one very special Armadilettante in the audience. Adam, come on up here,” he beckons. “It’s my turn?” asks Adam from the crowd, incredulous. As he makes his way through the mob, Sean Bayntun begins to laugh and says, “Oh look, you just happen to have a bass! How fortuitous!” As the band sets up, he tells a joke:
Sean: What’s a pirate’s favourite letter? – Audience: R! – Sean: Aye, you’d think it be R, but it be the C!
The Armadilettantes play their other discordant song, “Pedestrian,” which has a great guitar riff. During the song, Sean Bletcher climbs onto Sean Bayntun’s shoulders and make it all the way through the end of the song before collapsing to the floor. Nicky Ninedoors performs one more dance to “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails, covered by The Armadilettantes. They end their set with “Mandibles,” I’ll tell you one thing and one thing only / It’s better outside than under your skin. Sean Bayntun picks up the synth and rocks it at the front of the stage, dripping with sweat. The room is so humid I regret not bringing an umbrella. Their encore is just as energetic, and I’m still reeling from the show. Sean Bletcher climbs all over the stage and the amps, and it’s a wonder he didn’t break anything.
The Armadilettantes know how to party, so make sure you attend their next show! View the full photo gallery.