Sunday, November 29 saw the local band the Sylvia Platters perform at Brothers Bowling and Billiards in Downtown Abbotsford, in support of their debut release, Make Glad The Day. The band was well-supported by opening acts Casinos and Saturdays, both of whom put up stellar performances that left the Platters with a high bar to clear.
This was the first time I’d been to a show held at Brothers, and I’d say that, compared to other venues in Abbotsford, it probably offers the most well-rounded experience — not only is there food and drink aplenty, but it has a larger space which bands can work in. Having said that, the bar space where the performance was held was still small enough that it felt like drowning in a tidal wave of tunes. The music was loud and engrossing in the best way possible.
Opening act Saturdays, formerly known as Wild Kingdom, put on an entertaining performance, cracking jokes and making quips in-between songs. Musically they were on point, and I will always treasure the performance of Daniel Johnston’s “Speeding Motorcycle” which was fun, tongue in cheek, and was impossible to not burst into laughter at. In fact, to me, it was actually a more engrossing version of the song than the original. I’ve been an avowed admirer of Daniel Johnston for years, but this amped-up, adrenaline make-over of “Speeding Motorcycle” took me by storm.
Saturdays were followed up by Casinos, who, if you were at this year’s Jam In Jubilee, are unmistakable from their sound: a pop-slanted style of early 2000s alternative and indie rock. At times during their performance they created comparisons in my mind to Toronto’s Tokyo Police Club, Phoenix, and Apartment. Their enthusiastic performance was engaging — Kier Christer Junos has an electric performing presence. Even in the face of a malfunctioning pedal board, he entertained the crowd while quickly working to fix it, before launching back into their set with gusto just a few minutes after the mishap. Probably the highlight of their performance was Mitchell Trainor’s excellence on guitar during their rendition of “Do You Want To.”
But as good as Casinos and Saturdays were, the night belonged to the headline act. The Sylvia Platters had performed live on CIVL 101.7 FM just a few days before this show, and having caught that performance, as well as their show earlier in the year in the Basement downtown (see The Cascade: “A Q&A with the Sylvia Platters, the Band with a short attention span,” October 7, 2015), what really stood out during their act on Sunday was their consistency. However, Sunday’s performance was also their first with Matt Tressel, who recorded saxophone and keyboard on the album. This final addition to their band meant that their act was as well-rounded as possible, with the sax jumping in and out when called for.
The Platters were vibrant and endlessly entertaining, with Nick Ubels (vocals and guitarist) and his brother Tim (vocals and drums) all smiles as they traded lead singer responsibilities throughout the set. They never seemed shackled into seriousness, even playing sax-y opening bars to Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” which had the audience doubled over in laughter when they caught on to it. It was the penultimate song (if you can call a joke opener a song?) before the Platters packed it in, and it was absolutely hilarious, highlighting just how confident the band were and how much they were enjoying themselves.
Between the combination of performers, who rubbed shoulders with ease and clicked into place as a lineup, and the amenities provided by Brothers Bowling and Billiards, the night was an immensely satisfying one, demonstrating that when given the space and opportunity, local musicians can thrive and entertain to an astonishing degree.
I for one had a tremendously enjoyable night and look forward to watching all three bands more in the future, as well catching more shows at Brothers.
Nick Ubels of the Sylvia Platters is a former editor-in-chief of The Cascade.