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Review – The Herbaliser

The Herbaliser performs live at Fortune Sound Club

The Herbaliser at Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, July 24 2011. Ashley Tanasiychuk photo

Review – The Herbaliser at Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, July 24 2011

– review by Carrie Swiggum/photos by Ashley Tanasiychuk

Here in Vancouver, they might be called underground, but across the pond London-based The Herbaliser can heave a whole room into motion while playing to sold-out crowds.

Doors opened an hour later than they were supposed to for the second of the band’s two Vancouver shows on the weekend, and by 9:30 p.m. on Sunday night, only 20 people were in Fortune Sound Club. It felt as though a show cancellation may have been in order.

The Herbaliser hit the stage at 11 p.m. after a groovin’ turntable set by DJ Hoola. At this point, there were about 100 people in the mid-sized venue.

The Herbaliser performs live at Fortune Sound Club

The Herbaliser at Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, July 24 2011. Ashley Tanasiychuk photo

As promised, the veteran band played a lot of their Ninja Tunes-era songs – jazzy instrumentals featuring a lot of flute, saxophone and trumpet, with downtempo beats. These were the tunes that defined the group on their first three albums from ’95 to ’99.

The crowd was really into the groove and The Herbaliser played flawlessly, but it was hard to get over the lack of an audience. More people would have definitely added more to the experience.

A few people said there were more people at the Saturday show, which makes sense. Maybe it was bad promotion, or perhaps the sunny weekend baked Herbaliser fans into submission. Or maybe the band’s heyday came and went 10 years ago and their team was too ambitious to book two consecutive gigs in Vancouver.

The Herbaliser performs live at Fortune Sound Club

The Herbaliser at Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, July 24 2011. Ashley Tanasiychuk photo

In any case, the lack of people was bewildering for their last show in Canada. Those who came out to the performance showed their love enthusiastically, and demanded an encore.

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