Usually at 11:45 PM on a Friday night, young people are heading to a post-movie-make-out session, well on their way to waking up somewhere strange–or both. In the Portrero Hill district, Canada’s You Say Party! We Say Die! were breathing life into the patrons of Bottom of the Hill.
I arrived late at around 11 PM and found the stage empty. The second band hadn’t even set up. Turns out the first openers, Glam rockers Nylon Heart Attack, feature beer bottle breaking as part of their repertoire. Gee thanks, guys. This left the young artsy-dressed males and some girls and slightly older guys hanging around.
Fake Your Own Death rocked hard, at least their lead singer / guitarist did. Both the drummer and the bassist/keyboardist stood impassively. The latter had a Powerbook beside him. Did it serve a musical purpose? I don’t know. He could have been texting. Playing in between the two other younger bands, these older “weekend warriors” appeared stiff. The frontman’s wife reminding him to check his plumber’s crack really didn’t help.
The floor emptied fast following their set. The air in the room grew charged once You Say Party! We Say Die! arrived. A line of indie girls charged the front of the stage while all five members conducted an onstage huddle.
Launching into a hi-energy performance, bassist Steven O’Shea and guitarist Derek Adam aggressively wrung notes over hyperactive drummer Devon Clifford’s steady dance-rock beats. Keyboardist Krista Loewen bobbed her head up and down with a focused expression that occasionally broke into bubbly smiles. The venue’s small stage proved challenging for the five-piece group, but they succeeded in making everyone forget that.
You Say Party! We Say Die! shows rely on audience interaction. A beam of light in her glittery shawl and skirt, Singer Becky Ninkovic joyfully reached down, singing directly to an audience member. Then she leapt onto the floor to sing and dance with everybody.
During a song titled after their band name, Ninkovic asked random people whether they like to party which resulted in cheers. So much dancing erupted up front, I regret ordering a 2/3 pound hamburger for dinner. The night was filled with comedy too, courtesy of wisecracks by Clifford.
Maintaining the link with fans, Band members hung out with everyone who stuck around after the show. I learned about Krista Loewen’s encyclopedic knowledge of Vancouver restaurants. Ninkovic’s dad handed me his compact camera to photograph him, her, aunt Sandy from Santa Rosa and family friend Harry.
Having an open and friendly attitude will help them build fans as they continue their US tour. They play the South by Southwest festival later on. I don’t want to say that they filled Bottom of the Hill, but they won over more than a few. Two jumping girls held a sign saying they were from Greece. Later, they introduced themselves to Loewen and I discovered that they’d just arrived today. Sounds like a good start.
You Say Party! We Say Die’s latest album, XXXX, was released on February 9, 2010.
Photos taken by Kevin Gustafson
You Say Party! We Say Die!’s Myspace page.
You Say Party! We Say Die!’s website.
U.S Tour Dates:
17-Mar – Austin, TX – Canadian Blast Party @ SXSW
17-Mar – Austin, TX – Pure Volume Showcase @ SXSW
18-Mar – Austin, TX – Casablanca Publishing / Maggie Mae’s @ SXSW
18-Mar – Austin, TX – Paper Bag Records Party / Speakeasy @ SXSW
19-Mar – Austin, TX – Consequence of Sound Party / Black Sheep Lodge @ SXSW
19-Mar – Austin, TX – Lose Control 2010 Party / Vice @ SXSW
21-Mar – Memphis, TN – Hi Tone
22-Mar – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
23-Mar – Charlotte, NC – Snug Harbor
24-Mar – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar
26-Mar – New York, NY – Knitting Factory
27-Mar – Boston, MA – TT The Bears
29-Mar – New York, NY – Piano’s
30-Mar – Detroit, MI – Pike Room
31-Mar – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle