In review: Tunes Against Tuition 2014

windmills

Act 1 – Windmills

By Kim Anderson

From behind his sunglasses, Cory Myraas of Windmills opened up the annual Tunes Against Tuition concert at TRU on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Windmills performed for a small crowd, at first (at one point it was a lone fan in front of the stage). As the show went on, more students flocked to hear what the commotion was.

Myraas’ performance style is unique. He strikes a note with his guitar, drums, or keyboard and that note loops, creating a seamless, flowing and complete sound. What begins as a single note transforms into a medley of sounds that flows like a river.

Anyone who wasn’t dancing to “Face to a Name,” wasn’t paying attention. Myraas tells a story involving liquid courage and becoming James Dean.  His vocals began repeating and looping along with the notes, creating a hazy, foggy feeling that mirrored the story told in his song. His vocal ability was most notable during his version of Coldplay’s “Clocks.”

For his entire set, Myraas made the stage his own. Between swapping instruments and commanding the attention of the audience, Myraas demonstrated why Windmills works and why he is able to continue as a thriving and charismatic one-man band.

mann

Act 2 – Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk

By Kim Anderson

Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk came charging in, tambourines in hand, after Windmills left the stage with a request for everyone to join them and dance.

Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk consists of Lauren Mann on lead vocals, piano and ukulele; Jay Christman playing drums and guitar; Jessica Christman playing bass and additional keys; Josh Akin playing electric/acoustic guitar; Zoltan Szoges playing additional keys and percussion; and Hammer Clark, the front of house tech.

The Calgary, Alta. natives kicked off their set with “Through Your Eyes,” “Let’s Make Our Escape,” “Over Land and Sea” and “Dance With Me.”

The six-piece folksy indie band held the students of TRU in the palm of their hands while they played their innovative and emotionally-charged set.

In between playing keys and percussion, Szoges managed to weave in-between his five band-mates, dancing and getting the crowd hyped up.

Mann possesses a remarkable vocal range that can be both delicate and wispy and then suddenly shift to strong and powerful. For part of the show, she used a classic, old-fashioned microphone. Rarely was Mann just singing. She rotated between playing the piano, strumming the ukulele and vocals.

The most impressive aspect of their performance was their ability and desire for audience involvement. Near the end of their set, Szoges began tossing out tambourines, small noisemakers and a cowbell to the crowd. Before any of the fans knew how to react, he re-appeared, this time with an enormous drum he handed down to the crowd. He then tossed out an armful of drumsticks.

The crowd reacted with pure, childlike joy and began striking the drum to the beat of their stunning finale, “How it Goes.” Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk finished their set and left the audience cheering, ecstatic and wanting more.

julytalk

Act 3 – July Talk

By Carli Berry

Canadian indie-rockers July Talk brought TRU a show unlike any other. Lead singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay acted out a romantic relationship on stage. There was constant flirting and playfulness throughout the performance that ranged from locking eyes to Dreimanis biting Fay’s shoulder.

July Talk thrived off of energy from the audience. Fay even took off her high heels and leapt down into the audience, all while singing the song “Let Her Know.” Audience members clapped and whooped as Fay sang and danced with them before returning to the stage.

Members of the band include singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay, guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton and drummer Danny Miles.

The fashion ensemble of the band was basic, with Dreimanis and Fay wearing contrasting black and white colours that stood out from the rest of the band’s black outfits. This may have been to reinforce the actors’ on-stage relationship.

The 13 songs performed were a mix of new and old, ranging from hits like “Guns + Ammunition,” “Paper Girl” and “Summer Dress” to a newer song, “Blood and Honey” that has yet to be released.

It was not the first time July Talk played at TRU. In 2012 they performed at Tunes Against Tuition with the Arkells, Young Pacific and Good For Grapes. Early in the show, Dreimanis told a story of the last time July Talk was in Kamloops. It involved Dreimanis falling asleep after a party in a pile of puppies, which received riotous laughter from the audience.

After the last song, audience members screamed for an encore and were rewarded with “Black Lace,” a song that Fay joked was sexy and wished the audience a very sexy time in school.

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All photos Kim Anderson/The Omega