Review By Paul Oostergo / Photos By Paul Oostergo
Exclusive to Rockstar Weekly
This past Thursday August 27, CFOXs Vancouver Seeds celebrated its 30th birthday in style at the Commodore Ballroom. Vancouver Seeds is Canadas premier independent talent competition and highlights the best bands Vancouvers burgeoning music scene has to offer. Past winners of this annual event include The Powder Blues, The Headpins, and multiple Juno Award winners Nickleback.
Thursdays showcase which also served as the release party for the Vancouver Seeds 30 disc – featured this years top three bands. Richmonds Venice Queen (www.venicequeen.com) started the night off with a 20-minute set. Although they refuse to pigeonhole themselves into one category, their alternative and hard rock roots came through loud and clear. Vancouvers Black Betty (www.myspace.com/blackbettymetal) was up next and, based on the crowd reaction, proved to be the evenings favourites. This duo yes, theres only two of them made up of Jonas Fairley on drums and vocals and Ana Serena on guitar put out more raw energy in their 20-minute set than some bands with twice the members can muster over the course of an evening. Wrapping up the Seeds portion of the evening was Langleys Goodbye Beatdown (www.myspace.com/goodbyebeatdown). This band puts out a mix of hip-hop, rock, blues and reggae that at times could be described as Rage Against the Machine without the Rage. While it did not appear that Beatdown managed to capture the crowds attention as much as Black Betty, they turned out to be the overall favourite by claiming the coveted Seeds Platinum Award which includes management and agency consultations, a demo recording deal, the opportunity to work with some of the best production talent in the city as well as a very cool Seeds customized Gibson Flying V guitar.
But the best part of the evening was saved for last. Taking the stage for the first time in over a year after being introduced by local rocker and previous Seeds winner Matthew Good, Bif Naked grabbed the audience in her tiny hands, held on for well over an hour and treated her fans to a great mix of older favourites and new material from her recently released sixth studio album The Promise. The past year or so has been a tough road for the Beautiful Monster, having been diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 08 and then undergoing surgery and chemotherapy treatments. Bifs latest offering, written and recorded while still getting treated for cancer, proves that you cant keep a good girl down or a bad girl, as the case may be. Shes added heavier, metal-inspired guitar riffs that simply rock you to the core on tracks such as Red Flag and Sick. Honeybee Fuck You 2 and Ciao Bella show that she hasnt forgotten her pop-punk roots and Bluejay is a power ballad that harkens back to 1998s Lucky. Older songs presented included Leader, Tango Shoes, Moment of Weakness, Chotee and her cover of Metallicas Nothing Else Matters. After a solid hour of attitude and casual conversation with the crowd between songs, Bif left the stage to briefly catch her breath. She came back for a 15-minute encore performing 3 of her biggest hits, Spaceman and Lucky from 1998s I Bificus and 2001s I Love Myself Today. Before leaving the stage Thursday night, Bif promised that shed be back in Vancouver performing again before the end of the year and her new disc The Promise which she says was meant as a promise to her fans shows that Bif knows how to keep her word. Bif takes The Promise to Regina September 4th and to Edmonton September 25th.