The Tailors. Photographs: Rich Thane
The Social is an aptly named little venue; your first impression upon entering is that of an almost student house party-esque corridor, at the end of which you find a few booths and the bar. It’s incredibly cosy, sets up the eponymous vibe immediately and the small stage, the few tables and the tiny standing area downstairs continue the theme.
This meant that by the time The Old Familiar struck up his combo of chords, harmonica and vocals the crowd was receptive if a little sparse. Old Familiar (real name Jon Bunyan, of Vancouver) is an unassuming sort, his warming, lo-fi set of gentle ballads all the more enjoyable for it. Though with a true sense of humility he acknowledged his role as being a ‘warm up’ for the headliners, he still deserved a little more attention of his own.
Caitlin Rose, taking to the stage with admissions that “this is the first time I’ve played by myself in months” and “you probably all think I’m a hillbilly” that instantly charmed the now more fully assembled crowd. “At least I’m wearing shoes” she conceded, before stunning everyone with a gorgeous southern drawl; honest, touching and funny lyrics and an abundance of quirky chords and Nashville drinking songs.
By the time The Tailors stepped up the downstairs room was absolutely packed, and to say the support acts had fulfilled their role of generating a buzz would be an understatement; the excitement was palpable. Looking like a nice, trustworthy folk pop band despite rhythm guitarist Chad looking like he belonged in Mastodon, The Tailors began their set in earnest; sparkling melodies, husky vocals and an imaginative sense of rhythm proving potent.
Despite the levity of proceedings – one highlight being a dude behind me telling his friend to “watch the guitarist, he always plays with his eyes shut, looks like he’s about to fall asleep”, seconds before the lead singer addresses the room with “try and stay awake Chad!” to much uproarious laughter – The Tailors play seriously good tunes. Though intense crescendos were infrequent, it was moments of quiet intensity that prevailed, set to sophisticated harmonies, a beautifully understated rhythm section and a definite sense of glee that emanated from the quintet. A live show is always gilded when the artists on stage match the enthusiasm of those watching; tonight The Tailors proved a perfect fit.