Hundred Waters hone their communicating skills

Hundred Waters at the Fox Cabaret, Vancouver, Dec 9 2017. Kirk Chantraine photo.

Hundred Waters at the Fox Cabaret, Vancouver, Dec 9 2017. Kirk Chantraine photo.

Review and photos—Hundred Waters at the Fox Cabaret, Vancouver, Dec 9 2017

– review by Taisuke Tanimura/photos by Kirk Chantraine

Hundred Waters at the Fox Cabaret, Vancouver, Saturday night.

The band’s Vancouver show is its last stop on a tour supporting its latest album, Communicating.

Over the course of three studio albums, the LA-via-Florida group has shrunk from five members to three. Coincidentally or not, their sound has evolved into something more immediate and direct. Whereas many of their previous tracks treated Nicole Miglis‘ voice almost as another textural layer, songs on Communicating are more direct. The group still makes heavy use of electronics and pedals. But the singer’s vocals are clean and upfront on songs about the difficulty of getting someone to truly understand how you feel.

Mostly business, with elements of Kid A

On Saturday, the trio was mostly business. Trayer Tryon handled the electronics and bass in the background, where he coaxed swells and squeals out of his equipment. One of the interesting things about their production is how organic their digital elements sound. It’s sort of like Radiohead during that band’s Kid A era. The trio’s live performance of Communicating‘s title track was a perfect example of this. A squall of sound enveloped Miglis’ chant of “Are we communicating?” like a big blanket.

Photos and review—Hundred Waters at Electric Owl, Vancouver, 2015

Drummer Zach Tetreault was the unsung hero of the night. He demonstrated incredible technique. On record, where they underpin many of the songs, his complex rhythms are easy to miss. But it was a pleasure watching him lurch through the stop/start rhythms of “Fingers” and pound out the 4/4 pulse of “Wave To Anchor” without (excuse me) missing a beat.

Act to watch: Banoffee

Their set drew mainly from Communicating, along with a few choice cuts from The Moon Rang Like A Bell. “Particle”, the band’s latest single, was a particular highlight. Its gorgeous melody and almost-EDM drop pumped up the crowd. Miglis ended the show with a solo performance of “Show Me Love”, the stellar opener from The Moon Rang Like A Bell.

Opening for Hundred Water was Banoffee (aka Martha Brown), who brought her own flavour of pop-infused R&B all the way from Australia. Her sound was a mix of Banks and Grimes, but more intimate with less maximalist production. She has garnered a lot of buzz in her home country as well as online, and is well worth a listen if you’re a fan of Hundred Waters.

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