New Wave is coming back and these Canadian groups are doing one hell of a job it. Headlining the night was Toronto’s Diana. But before they took the stage, the lead singer of Silkken Laumann, Rolf Klausener, never one to mince words had quite a doozy of an introduction for Diana. “Diana is up next, and they are about to rock our collective vagina!” How do you follow that up and break the ice as Diana? With a funny anecdote of course. “I just went to the washroom before the set and well I just sat in a stranger’s urine,” said Carmen Elle. “One of you women has a new bond with me.” Their record, Perpetual Surrender, is absolutely great, but it really comes to life live. I was completely blown away by the drummer. I loved the transition seamless transitions from electric drums to his standard set, the man creates some sweet beats. And if that wasn’t enough, they have some very sexy sax on some songs. The title track, ”Perpetual Surrender,” brings me back to nights where I would stay up late after my parents fell asleep and to watch Blue Nuit. If that isn’t Kenny-G-eat-your-heart-out, baby-making, softcore-porn music I don’t know what is. Lastly they covered “More Than This” and it was the best rendition since Bill Murray in Lost and Translation. “Need you to know baby, I know you’re terrified.”
Silkken Laumann where in the middle of this concert sandwich. They were playing their first show with their new bass player Gary from Roberta Bondar. The heavily bearded band from Ottawa had a pretty awesome light show going on as their New Order-esque inspired dance rock tickled our ears and swayed our hips. Gary’s contributions could be felt right away. He really set the tone and the beat for their second song, which I really liked. With the infectious beats flowing and everyone bobbing or dancing along in the dimly lit Maverick’s, Rolf took the time to share an observation: “This really feels like a basement party with just us. We are all in Diana’s basement.” This is the second time I see the band live and have loved it both times, my favourite song live has to be “House of Common Problems.” Missed out or want more Silkken? They announced that they will be hosting a new year’s eve album release party, should be quite the event.
Kicking off the dance party was the Ottawa super group Black Usher. The band was formed at the Ottawa Rock Lottery earlier this year. The group is comprised of Sarah Bradley from Fevers, Jordan David from The Love Machine, both members of Still Native, Patrick Steele and Max Savage, and two MC’s, Hyfidelik the Gypsy Sun of Missing LinX and Atherton. As you can see, there are so many vocals option and the band does a great job of letting everyone have a turn to shine. You have to love the sad ballad about condos. With lines like, “There used to be mom and pops now it’s Starbucks,” and “Condos ruin everything around me,” as a tribute to C.R.E.A.M. by Wu-Tang. They closed out their set with the very odd “Weird wild strange strange.”
Forget clubs spinning top 40 dance music–Diana, Silkken Laumann and Black Usher showed us all Saturday night that live dance music, by musicians, is alive and well.