Adam Green and the Dead Trees bring a spectacular but all too-short show to Vancouver
At Venue on Thursday, April 1
Adam Green’s Thursday night stand at Venue seemed all too-short for Vancouver fans who had so obviously dreamed of the coming moment since Garfield came out in 2002. That’s not to say that the ex-Moldy Peach and Oregon-based indie rockers, the Dead Trees, didn’t make for a spectacular show, but when the antifolk star and his backing band wrapped up (encore et al.) at five to 10 p.m., the audience was just getting revvved up.
Starting promptly at 8 p.m., the Dead Trees played their short set to an audience of maybe 20. Instead of having its dance floor packed with drunk college kids, the club—with its dark, quiet enclaves, lounge areas, and a single waitress collecting drink orders— looked like the opening scene from So I Married an Axe Murderer.
While it may have been too early for the audience to feel its alcohol, at least Green made a point of being visibly intoxicated by the time he joined the Dead Trees on-stage.
He kicked off his set with a deceptively sober “Breaking Locks” off his latest album, Minor Love, which had the crowd (now upped to around 60 people) quietly swaying in place.
The second song, given weight from the backing band, quickly changed the mood of the venue, with audience members demonstrating their participation through handclaps while Green showed off dance moves í la Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. The quirky singer-songwriter amped up the intimate gathering of his devotees when, bottle of Molson in hand, he drunkenly admitted he’d made the switch to Canadian beer from Coors Light.
The audience now captivated, the Dead Trees left Green on-stage with an acoustic guitar, as he appeased his fans with favourites like “Mozzarella Swastikas” and played previously unheard songs. For most of the entertainer’s acoustic set, Venue became one huge choral sing-along. The “Anyone Else But You” singer took breaks between songs with stories about crossing the border that had the attentive bunch giggling. “Those dogs can’t smell shit!” the inebriated Green exclaimed while one overly enthusiastic attention-seeker yelled back, “I’ll show you a dog!”
When the band joined him back on-stage, the crowd had clearly just started to enjoy itself, and was disappointed when, at 9:30 p.m., Green announced “this might be our last song as far as I’m concerned.” The group ended its set to chants of “One more song! One more song!”
Green and the boys of the Dead Trees came back for a generous encore, and passed off the mike to enthusiastic singers-along in the middle of “Jessica”. The intoxicated singer left the stage during the final song, perhaps to find a bucket to vomit into whilst wishing he hadn’t made the switch to Canadian beer, after all.