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Vacuity, The Dunes

29-Mar-2008 05:56 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Vacuity Vacuity
Starlight in Waterloo, Ontario
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
Vacuity
The Dunes
March 26, 2008
Full Photo Set (23 photos)

I started following Vacuity in July 2006, very shortly after I started this blog about music. They submitted their EP entitled Come On Get Real for review, and when I finally got around to listening to it, it caught my attention in a way that indicated they were on a good path. For an EP, it showed a significant amount of promise, so when they came to Toronto to play The Horseshoe in January 2007, I dropped by to see how they performed on stage. The set was decent and the material was good but, relative to their EP, the set made a fairly light impression on me. Today I'm here to report that Vacuity has made some amazing progress in the past year, not only improving on their already excellent material, but they are now able to follow it up on stage.

Vacuity

Since I took a liking to Vacuity nearly two-years ago and still only managed to get out to see them once during that whole time, I decided to make the trek out to the Starlight in Waterloo, a venue that I hear about regularly. It seemed like a good way to check out the venue, see how Vacuity is progressing and also finally get out to see The Dunes (more on them below). The show was a CD release party for Vacuity's new full-length album, At The Command Of The Blanket Sky, so the set list consisted of the new material.

Vacuity
Vacuity
Vacuity

So here's the thing: The new material is simply brilliant. The guitar work by Greg Osborn is more intricate, the vocals by Rob McFee are more consistent, the compositions are well thought-out, and just when you think it might get predictable they pull out a small and pleasing twist. There's definitely a brit-pop sound to the music with prog-rock influences, but it's fresh enough that definitive comparisons are hard to make. In terms of Canadian music, the new songs share some attributes with the music of Pilot Speed (formerly Pilate). I think it's fair to say that Vacuity is still a little stronger in the studio than on stage, but the progress made to their stage show in the past year is phenomenal; their performance is now a firm backing of their recordings, including their new, world-class album.

Vacuity
Vacuity
Vacuity

Info: Vacuity | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

The Dunes

Over the past year, a few people have recommended getting out to see The Dunes because they thought I'd like their show. I even met a couple of the guys from the band while they were taking in a show at The Horseshoe. I don't really know any of their music, but as I said, they came recommended, so since they were supporting Vacuity, I made sure to get on the road to Waterloo early enough to get to the Starlight in time for their set. In short, it turns out those few people were right.

The Dunes
The Dunes
The Dunes

Their music can be described as alt-indie-rock, but their stage presence is a bit of a curious mix that works well. On one side there is the indie-rock style of Kevin Pullen (vocals, guitar) and Alistair Heath (guitar), and on the other side is the hard-rock style of Paul Barry (drums) and John Dolinar (bass). From what I could tell, they were playing all new material that shows good advancement from most of what is posted on their MySpace page. This was basically the first time I'd heard any of their music and at least three of their songs got me thinking I'd like to hear that again, so they are on the list for a repeat visit.

The Dunes
The Dunes
The Dunes

Info: The Dunes | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

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