The Acorn released their latest album, Vieux Loup, at House of Common with help from Isaac Vallentin and Pipahauntaus.
With us gathering in a renovated Hintonburg area garage, now the multifunction space known as House of Common, the show was ready to begin. The crowd huddled together and with all the lights turned off except for a blue light shining right at her, Pipahauntas got started. Many know her as Sam Pippa of local bands Organ Eyes and Blue Angel. Her solo project, Pipahauntas, is quite different and distinct from the other bands she’s involved in. No guitar or bass here – she is armed with a laptop, four pedals and a microphone, delivering trip hop and lo-fi rumblings. Pipahauntaus’ music is great for late night cruise with your windows down with the wind slowly gracing your cheeks and flowing in your hair. It was great to finally hear her perform live, I strongly recommend catching her when you can and giving her a listen here in the meantime.
Up next was Isaac Vallentin, riding high off the release of his incredible debut album Hedera. Lead singer of The Acorn, Rolf Klausener, described during their set as, “one of the best albums to come out this year.” Opening with the soft and gentle first track from the album, “Cloud of Smoke” exposes Vallentin’s fragility and begins to highlight the excellent musicianship he and his band exude. This night was also a celebration of the release of Hedera and marked the first time the band performed together live. Vallentin said, “I have an album for sale over there, I don’t care how much you have if you want it I’ll make sure you leave with a copy.” The rest of the set saw the band play songs of Hedera including “Hindsight”, in which Vallentin switched from guitar to keys, as well as “Stewardess” which may be my favourite song of his. To close out the show they performed “Garden II (Yellow Ire)”, and as the song approached its climax, Vallentin removed his glasses to power through the final stretch of rocking out.
The crowd had now grown to what felt like well over 100 people, many of which had to stand outside to enjoy The Acorn. Veterans of the scene, Vieux Loup is The Acorn’s fourth studio album and first in five years. New music from The Acorn is quite the treat for this long time fan, who still remembers sitting on the floor of Club SAW for the release of their first album, Pink Ghost. After playing their second song “Rapids,” Rolf thanked everyone for hanging out on a Friday night. “This is not exactly a party album, thanks for enduring us while we play slow songs on a Friday night.” I saw no complaints in this crowd. The set was full of new tracks off of Vieux Loup, as one could expect. Songs like “Cumin” and “Dominion”, really stood out as timeless gems for future shows. I do hope that Rolf calls up Caylie from Boyhood on stage one day to join him for “Dominion” because even though he did a great job with it, the album version with both voices is beautiful. They strayed from Vieux Loup to play a couple songs from The Acorn’s breakthrough album No Ghost, including the title track which ended the show and sent us of into the cool summer night, awestruck and energized.