by Michael Thomas
I wish it started at seven/And we could be in bed by eleven
-Blimp Rock, “Let’s All Stay In Tonight”
Blimp Rock were definitely living their pipe dream Saturday night at the Dakota Tavern. The 7-9 p.m. release show for Sophomore Slump was great on so many levels, from the early let-out time to the quality of both acts.
Opening the night was Tyson’s Casio Fiasco, one of the many, many musical projects of Guelph’s Tyson Brinacombe. For this musical iteration, Brinacombe performed solo with some backing tracks, and showed off some great range on both vocals and guitar. His songs could start off with gentle vocals before he suddenly increases the volume to a shout. His guitar shifted in tone, sometimes fuzzy and sometimes clear. His set drew from a variety of sources, from his Casio Fiasco record to his EP recorded with the reunited Tyson and the Trepids. The highlight was definitely “Max the Cat,” a theme song for Brinacombe’s cat, complete with awesome guitar and lyrics about him drinking from the tap.
This being a Blimp Rock show, the band’s set began after a PowerPoint presentation from Blimp Rock Enterprise’s CEO. Then the band launched into “Will It Ever/Sophomore Slump,” the first part with lovely strings and the second part a lot more rocking.
Sophomore Slump material of course dominated the set, with plenty of hilarity along the way. In introducing “My Mind is a Shark,” singer Peter Demakos mentioned it was on CBC’s As it Happens, an episode of which was about Katy Perry’s “Left Shark.” So naturally Demakos yelled “Katy Perry Left Shark!” during the song. During a rendition of “Lake Ontario Lifeguards,” Demako’s guitar wasn’t quite working, so he laid the blame on those shifty lifeguards.
The uber-catchy “Vampires” had Demakos showing off some dance moves while “Conflict Resolution” let Claire Whitehead take the vocal forefront, and the initial set ended with Emma Tollefson singing lead on the propulsive and funny “If My Friends Ran the Government.”
The band quickly reconvened for a two-song encore, starting with the beautiful “Sensitive Boys” and concluding with a song about dreams, “Blimp Rock Live 2.” It’s encouraging to see Blimp Rock having a full audience who “gets” them, and it should only be a matter of time before Blimp Rock Live is off the ground.