10 February 2018
Peach Pit's breezy melodies and infectious merriment turned Sneaky Pete's into a castle of the bounciest variety.
Published in Crash
Those amongst us academically shackled, burdened by the ever-dwindling financial strain of student loans, certainly know how to squeeze every penny’s worth from a night of tunes. Sneaky’s is chocker from the outset tonight – the kind of squeeze where if you move, we all move. The result of a rammy on this level is a verve that surpasses an individual’s output; we are part of something bigger, a collective atmosphere beyond our realm of comprehension.
The Tropicanas’ lush and leisurely vibe swiftly establishes a firm idea of what the evening has en route for us. Their moniker suggests, before a note is even struck, that what they offer is all shades of mellow, melodic and Mahalo, like a swaying palm under the setting sun – what the tin says, the tin does.
Ever denser does the crowd grow, bringing with them a burgeoning level of ecstasy. Edinburgh four-piece Nasari seem to materialise out of the ether, a realisation, in tandem with their baggy bygone attire, which leads us to believe that they may be capable of travelling across time from an era when post-punk was fresh, as they sell it with a catch-of-the-day conviction and without a hint of must. They possess the same haunting intensity and plodding rhythm of DIIV but Joshua Cakir’s purposeful yet fidgety vocals give them their own angsty bite. Cameron Brown awakens the sleepy hollows of his toms with a pounding brawn, while Dave Reed’s rumbling bass pads their sound with a packing punch. However, the standing ovation (if we were seated) must be given to Finlay McCarthy and his scorching guitar — at only 17, his ability is already bounds ahead of his years, furthermore, this inherent expertise makes it impossible to decipher where the seam lies between himself and his instrument.
Finally, does the evening’s ever-stretching elastic band of elation reach fever pitch as Peach Pit emerge from the fire exit stage door to an uproar of applause, and in their humble stride they respond with grins of a width found only on cereal boxes. It is a surprise that the Vancouver four-piece are not touring around in the Mystery Machine, as their vivaciously coloured clothing would suggest that they are en route to unmask Old Man Jenkins; it’s an aesthetic choice which immediately destroys any potential boundary between us and them – they are the kooky chaps you find in kitchens at parties with the best chat and the better weed.
Thrust are we into their set with Drop the Guillotine, its breezy melody sets the crowd ricocheting off the walls and seldom does this let-up. The quartet manage to exude an apathetic demeanour while simultaneously affirming us with the notion that we are in overly competent hands. No more is this clearer than with Christoper Vanderkooy’s crystalline guitar work, which induces a wave of awe and envy throughout the crowd on account of his casually magnificent prowess.
Neil Smith’s persistent patter with the crowd is delightful, his tales of the band’s recent stint in Amsterdam and their exploits overindulging in ‘coffee shops’ elevates our adoration for them even higher. Their affable Canadian charm is both wholesome and unfaltering; they present themselves so purely that we hang on every syllable Smith sings and utters. When his guitar string snaps, Nasari offer the use of theirs, he dons it with great gratitude and commences the next tune as a ripple of admiration for brotherly love works its way around the room.
On the sedate sing along Tommy’s Party, the pogoing crowd settle themselves into a gentle sway. The set’s shift in tone is a welcome addition and highlights the band’s affection for Weezer’s slow-tempo sofa-rock sound. Alrighty Aphrodite solidifies Vanderkooy’s standout performance as he and his adroitly fingered playing lunge into the zombie horde beneath him without skipping a note. For their encore, they whip out a cover of Johnny B. Goode and by the end of the first bar Sneaky’s has been transformed into a castle of the bounciest variety, which culminates in a frenzied stage invasion by their infatuated admirers. When the last note is struck, it is impossible to find a face in the place which doesn’t sport an ear-to-ear grin.