JOHN PIPPUS with SAM’S FALLING and MOJAVE at The Railway Club

Show Poster 7-Jan-2010Lauren Eldridge attended the 7 January 2010 show at the Railway Club, with photography by Leigh Eldridge:

Since the Backstage Vancouver Independent Music Round Table in December, the timing of weeknight shows seems to be improving (at least at the Railway Club). Both last night and tonight I arrived before the music was scheduled to start, and found that I was late rather than early! Mojave is a band I’ve been trying to see for months now, but the timing never worked. Luckily for me, John Pippus invited me to a show that I could actually attend! I only caught the last two songs of Mojave’s set, but I was immediately drawn in by Lisa’s voice. Paul accompanies her on the guitar (though she plays as well), but he has his own microphone for his witty banter (if he does say so himself). The duo play beautiful music on their acoustic guitars and Lisa’s voice is captivating. Paul jokes about a song that several years old: “This is an oldie but a goodie. It’s three years old! It could be on classic rock by now. Or on our greatest hits album. We need a greatest hits album. Every other album should be a greatest hits album.” We’ll see if this comes true. They’ve already been voted one of the best local unsigned bands of 2009 by readers of the Georgia Straight. They hope to move to Tofino to write more songs, but with the madness of the Olympics they may be in Vancouver a little longer than anticipated.

Sam’s Falling is an unusual band, but not in a crazy way (wait until you read about the show I attended the next night at the Purple Crab!). Cynthia Hall’s voice is quite low, but she can still reach every high note she aims for. The duo (Pim Bouwens plays guitar) bring special guest Raphael Geronimo to the stage to accompany them on percussion. He starts with the conga and a cowbell he’s rigged up with a kick pedal. The music is too soothing for the rowdy audience, but Sam’s Falling is all about playing the music. My discussion with Cynthia after the show revealed her peaceful, content nature which translates in their music. The songs are quite long, but are irregular enough in their timing and tempo that you hardly notice. Raphael had more percussion parts than anyone should have, but it lended to the ambience of the set. “Understand,” their ‘dance’ number, is the best representation of their sound and abilities. They’ll be playing a farewell show on Saturday 20 February at the Inlet Theatre in Port Moody (where Dan Mangan said goodbye) before they head back to Europe for another tour. Tickets are only $10 and they’ll be playing with a full band.

John Pippus (pronouned PIP-us) is a name to know (and pronounce correctly) in the Vancouver music scene. He books music on Thursday and Friday nights at Trees Organic Coffee House on Granville St, as well as being an accomplished musician. This particular evening at the Railway Club was his headlining act, accomapanied by Reid Henry on the cajon and Kim Lorene on backing vocals and percussion. John’s music ranges from folk to blues, all on his acoustic guitar. It’s his variety of voices that really impresses me, ranging from smoky to gravely. He plays songs with a fun-loving attitude, throwing in some full-body wiggles for “Last Call.” It’s all about attitude when it comes to setting yourself apart from the competition, and John is as sassy as they come. T. Nile joins him on stage for an impromptu round of harmony and cowbell. The songs cover many different aspects of John’s life, and John has obviously had enough experiences to fill several albums. He’s an interesting man, and Backstage Vancouver will feature an artist-on-artist discussion between John and Padma, who is just as interesting and has traveled just as curious a path.

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