The February 25 show was sold out at the West End Cultural Centre, which has a capacity of 400. A few people arrived at 6:00 p.m., thinking the doors would open at 7:00 p.m. The ticket said doors at 7:15 p.m. I was a bit early, as well, assuming they would open at 7. Doors opened on time and then there was a huge wait. In fact, the crowd waited almost an hour before being allowed to take our seats. The bands drove 18 hours non-stop from Calgary to make the Winnipeg gig and soundcheck for The Darcys ran late. As the crowd lined up before 7:15, Bombay Bicycle Club walked out past them and out the front door. I wonder how many people noticed who they were, as they were decked out in winter jackets and toques and looked like any other group of 20-something fans.
Things quieted down when Lucy Rose appeared on stage with just an acoustic guitar. Probably few people had heard of her. She has performed backing vocals with Bombay Bicycle Club and also tours with them. Rose's songs are romance-based nu-folk and her vocals are quiet and precious. She had the crowd paying so much attention that she joked about how at other gigs, people would continue talking over her singing, but not here. She announced that she had a CD for sale, for $5, with mostly demos and remixes. At the end of her performance, a huge line-up appeared in front of the merch table as fans snapped up her disc. So many were sold that they ran out and had to make a trip back to the bus for more. Rose also tours with the British alternative anti-folk group Noah & The Whale.
I had not heard about The Darcys, who are on one of Canada's hippest labels, Arts & Crafts. They have two albums out, their debut and a new one which is a track-by-track tribute to Steely Dan's Aja album. Curiously, both are available as free downloads. At the merch table, they only had vinyl for sale. I downloaded both recordings last night and was surprised that there wasn't an option to make a donation or buy t-shirts to support them. These guys are intense.