Chris van Staalduinen

April 30, 2017

Daniel Wesley w/ the Vidos and Paper Trails at the Commodore Ballroom

daniel wesley file photo nightmair creative

Daniel Wesley w/ the Vidos and Paper Trails at the Commodore Ballroom
written by Chris Van Staalduinen

Rock enthusiasts fear not – the future of your music in your city is in good hands. An all local night at the Commodore showcased Vancouver’s Daniel Wesley and lesser-known homegrown acts to an enthusiastic, if not sold-out crowd. The night opened with local five-piece blues/alternative rockers “Paper Trails“. Truly an excellent place to start, as they energized the crowd and certainly made a lot of new fans among them. Lead singer, Virginia, mesmerized the room, alternating between soaring, melodic vocals and pure-rock snarls. Despite the huge rock on her finger, I’m pretty sure she was proposed to more than a few times by drooling fans. She and the band are much more than looks, though, I assure you. They are clearly talented up-and-comers in the local scene and someday I’ll be able to say “I saw them before they were big.”

The Vidos” were up next and played like they had a grudge against their instruments or had been told “I don’t think you can make my ears bleed while I enjoy it.” Challenge accepted. There may have been a few older folks in the room who were there to see the headliners easy going beach sound and weren’t completely on board with the Vidos new spin on heavy metal. Personally, I (and any metal fans in the crowd) can see why these guys are turning heads – they’re like the guys you used to laugh at in high school because they didn’t socialize much, instead being completely focussed on their music. So they grew up (a little) and no one’s laughing now, except probably the band. These guys kicked ass at top volume and top speed without let up – a great set, I’m totally impressed.

After the dynamic and varied one-two punch of the openers, Daniel Wesley arrived with the knockout blow. As usual, he seemed humble and happy to be playing at home; comfortable at the Commodore is likely an understatement at this point. He seamlessly mixed old favourites and new stuff from his I Am Your Man album. It’s almost hard to believe that this local boy has (I think) eight albums now, including the live one he recorded at the Commodore last year. The newer stuff shows a maturation of his song writing skills and has a deeper sound than some of the old stuff. It’s still classic Daniel Wesley, though – mellow, heartfelt and heavy on the rasta-influence.

The room happily danced and sang along to every song – at times going full a capella at Daniel’s request. He was even testing the crowd at some points, calling out new and random vocalizations just to listen to the crowd echo it perfectly. You can’t fake fans like that; everyone was just having a great, groovy time. They seemed to play harder than usual, even re-working some acoustic-style stuff into harder rock sounds, just for the show. Perhaps they were trying to keep up to the Vidos – good luck on that!

If he hadn’t mentioned it, you would never know that it was the drummer’s second show with them. He never missed a beat (I see what I did there). There is a clear camaraderie between the band (including the new drummer) as they laughed and joked with the room and amongst themselves, both between and during songs. It was cool to see – just four guys having fun playing the music they love and letting the fans enjoy the show. When you see musicians just having fun, it’s contagious. You cannot have a bad time when everyone in the room is having a good one.

Daniel Wesley has become a “senior” member of the local rock scene and he’s now giving back to the same by helping bring local bands to the people. Just as he was once opening for other bigger bands, the student has now become the teacher, so to speak. There has been somewhat of a gap in the local hard rock scene, but that gap is truly being filled by new talent. Thanks to success stories like Daniel Wesley and hard work by young bands, Vancouver rock fans will have something good to look (listen?) forward to for years to come. I highly recommend Paper Trails if you like bluesy alt-rock and the Vidos if you like or liked heavy metal or very hard rock. You won’t be disappointed with either, nor with Daniel Wesley‘s new album if you like his old ones. If you’re more into live music, any of these three acts are well worth your hard earned concert money.

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written by Chris Van Staalduinen






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