I showed up to Metronome Coffee on 6th avenue at 8:30 on Saturday night. I missed Clara’s performance and the first half of Bucky Virginia & Your Daily Bread – an act I would later kick myself for, severely – however with the help of audience and performer opinions alike, my unfortunate tardiness has not inhibited this story.
The show kicked off with Clara Youtz, who writes and performs what she describes as “blues-folk-pop”. Mason Flippin sent the talented artist onstage with an epic prayer to the gods of Rock in honour of her performance debut. But whether it was Youtz’s incredible talent alone or the intervention of divine celestial badasses, something in the evening’s performance went right. Probing the audience after the show, I received the following feedback: “[Clara] killed it, ya know? She always kills it. It was great.” (Simon Williams) “Clara Youtz was awesome. She warmed the room with magnificent Laura Marling-esque vocals and guitar playing. [It was] a wonderful musical occurrence that definitely needs to happen again!”(Laurel Garrett). Youtz played an entirely original set, including “Siren Sorrow”, a narrative from the perspective of a siren depicting the role men have given her; “But I Do”, an uncharacteristically personal number from the young songstress; and one untitled, slightly morbid piece about a Tibetan Sky Burial. With only her soulful voice and acoustic guitar, Clara undoubtedly enchanted her audience.
Next on stage were the boys of the hour: Bucky Virginia and Your Daily Bread. Levi Gosteli, Clay Snell, Cody Kissner, and Josh Celli were certainly delivering a classically enthusiastic set. The venue produces somewhat restricting acoustics for the bigness of the Bucky sound, but the talent still came through loud and clear. And loud. An audience of our peers spent the evening rocking, jamming, dancing, bopping, clapping and swaying relentlessly. When I arrived the place was bustling with excited Sota students, and a scattered crowd of regular Metronome Coffee-goers, many of whom appeared to be embracing the loud alternative blues rock vibes Bucky Virginia was putting forth, though there were a few – sulking in caffeine endorsed grudges in the coffee shop’s perimeters – who seemed none too pleased with the presence of these rock-spirited teens.
The band opened with an improv jam that segued smoothly into the instrumental “Lasko to Glasgow”. This led to a cover of “Tube” by Phish, with a vocal performance courtesy of Josh Celli. When questioned about the curious choice, Celli noted that “Phish is phenomenal in every sense of the word” and that the crowd’s response to his uncommon position as lead singer was positive, positive, positive. Clay Snell took over vocals next on the original “Taboo Tangerine”, followed by the numbers “Rusty”, “Glucose”, “Don’t Mind the Absent Minded”, and “Sun Rises Down” with Levi on the mic, and guitar.
Several songs in, our favourite fiery haired frontman (Gosteli), revealed a jar of Kraft mayonnaise “In honour of Cinco de Mayo…” which he proceeded to share on-stage with his bandmates. This incited cheers and disgust from onlookers, though whether the stunt was true bravery or just a tapioca hoax, no one can be sure. Shortly thereafter, continuing their homage to the Mexican holiday, the band set into a raucous rendition of “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, with the help of Jerard Mower on saxophone. It’s not only a riot, but a damn good crowd pleaser.
The band continued with the accompaniment of Mower for the closing song, “I Want to Be an Arsonist”, which never faltered in energy or intensity. The saxophone, curiously enough, worked well with their sound. At moments the squeal of the sax, the wailing of guitar, and the somewhat ragey vocalizations of Gosteli melded into a perfectly face-melting, albeit aggressive sonic fusion. This concluded the official performance, but an impressive drum solo from Kissner and a smooth jam with the rest of the fellas made for one hell of an encore.
Now that’s what I call a Saturday night.