Last Friday, a select group of strangers and blues lovers found their way to the West End for an exclusive house concert by Shaun Verreault. It’s an experience that ticket provider startup, Picatic, claims is missing from the Vancouver entertainment landscape.
The potluck-style event was marked by sweeping views of English Bay at sunset, in the family condo of hosts Lorna and Curtis Barber. Guests got buzzed up throughout the evening, enjoying bevvies, finger food and those gorgeous views. The apartment was located in the Sylvia tower, which is a part of the historic Sylvia Hotel – a Vancouver Heritage site since 1912.
Shaun Verreault of Wide Mouth Mason was lively and quietly hilarious between songs, quick to crack jokes about the musical stylings of birds and car honks. It was a thrill to hear his unique three-slide lap steel style, as well the endlessly nimble riffs of his electric guitar. Aside from passing seagulls, those instruments were his only two accompaniments for the night.
The crowd became a bit more than boisterous by the time the first act wound down, Verreault first commenting mildly on the noise, and then increasingly matching their volume as the conversations continued unheeded. While it was a pleasure to hear Verreault handle the situation with professional ease, and even mix in a few random nods to those still listening (I heard refrains from “Party All The Time” and “Waterfalls”), it was still a shame that he had to do so in the first place.
Vancouver needs to grow up and appreciate the intimate nature of the house concert. It’s still a relatively new phenomenon, but fans coming for the pure musical experience may walk away a bit disappointed – not by the artist, but by their fellow ticket holders.