Published Mar 02, 2018Toronto's Afie Jurvanen and his band returned to Vancouver Thursday evening, bringing the sounds of recent release, Earthtones, to the West coast. Warm lights that constantly dimmed and shone in time with the music ringed the stage, where the band members were suitably dressed in neutral shades — vocalist Felicity Williams, dressed all in white, was given a "casual Friday on a Thursday," in Jurvanen's words, given that it was her birthday (the crowd sang a disjointed "Happy Birthday" in her honour).
Bahamas charmed the sold-out audience with the classic groove and noodling guitar lines of Jurvanen and Christine Bougie, who harmonized with ease and impressive prowess. Cuts from Earthtones, such as "Opening Act," felt both meta and humorous, with Jurvanen quipping about his experience in the music industry amidst a steady beat — before "[pulling] out [his] Fender and letting loose." The solos, however, felt fun and light, as opposed to overly self indulgent.
Combined with the band's knack for both vocal and guitar harmonies, the crowd responded in turn — many hoots and whistles were heard throughout the night, even during the seated numbers. Jurvanen has a self-deprecating sense of humour and a charm about him, especially when he took a queue from Freddie Mercury to end the night singing "Any Place," using a handheld half mic stand. His casual, affable manner came across during a solo performance of "No Depression," as well as his banter, which stripped back any mystery about the concept of encores.
The band didn't shy away from playing older material, including the gentle folk of "Can't Take You With Me" and the epic, Feist-like "Like a Wind." Williams sang a song for the crowd — her gift to the audience on her birthday, according to Jurvanen — which displayed her breathy, skilled vocals, while allowing the rest of the band to truly play as the unit. Jurvanen is able to balance his roles as an instrumentalist and vocalist, shifting the spotlight onto Bougie's guitar or the rhythm section as needed.
Closing their set with the encore that Jurvanen had explained beforehand, Bahamas delivered a laidback yet confident performance, showing Vancouverites just how in tune the band's members are in communicating the arc of Jurvanen's songwriting. If the shouts of "One more song!" as the house lights went up gave any indication, Bahamas fans left craving more Earthtones.