Having never been to the Company House before, I wasn’t entirely clear on what I was going to encounter. I had a basic overview of what the night would entail, but that was about it. I knew Megan McDowell was going to perform, there was going to be some sort of game show taking place and there was going to be an acoustic set by Like a Motorcycle to celebrate the release of their EP #Motorpool and some sort of performance/presentation by Rich Aucoin.
As I settled in, I took in the game show set-up and the band and Rich Aucoin milling about, making last minute adjustments. The announcer for the game show was impressive and reminded me a lot of Bill Carroll who was the announcer for the classic Much Music game show Test Pattern. LAM drummer Michelle Skelding served as the hostess for the festivities and kept the battle between The Overthinkers (LAM bassist Kim Carson and Megan McDowell) and The Ken Jennings’ (LAM guitarist Jillian Comeau and Rich Aucoin) moving along. It served as a great warm up for the rest of the evening as it kept the crowd entertained and amused throughout.
From there, Megan McDowell took to the stage and regaled the audience with her thoughts on Feline Personification and the much beloved Pizza Pop. The crowd was quite appreciative of what I could only imagine was a somewhat abbreviated set, especially the over-laugher who was seated close to us. I’d definitely be interested in seeing more of Megan’s set, she was a pleasant surprise. Following Megan’s set was Rich Aucoin who appeared with a somewhat dilapidated guitar and proceeded with his Plan D (a stripped down performance on an acoustic guitar). It was definitely interesting to see him translate his material to an acoustic instrument even if it was only for a scant 2 tracks. It was a definite departure, but a special night to see Rich switch gears, unplug the electronics and power down a pair of his tracks.
It wasn’t long before the Like a Motorcycle ladies returned to the stage in their proper configuration. Instead of being cranked to 11, they scaled their sound back to about a 6 and rocked out in a much more subdued fashion. It was great to see a different take on the LAM material which wasn’t completely out of their wheelhouse. During one of the lead vocal shifts in the set, Michelle and Kim’s harmonies evoked a distinct Tegan and Sara sweetness. You could tell that LAM were having a great time as the atmosphere was light and jovial and the interaction between all three was easy and loose. The contrast between Michelle’s smokey ‘Courtney Love meets Stevie Nicks’ vocals and Kim’s ‘Joan Jett meets Pat Benetar’ vocals makes for magic in an acoustic setting and really made me wonder what an entire stripped down Like a Motorcycle album would sound like. When all three ladies take to the mic, the 3 part harmonies are solid and ear catching as well. This acoustic whet my appetite to rush home and to download #Motorpool (which has been on constant play throughout the day). If you have a chance to check out Like a Motorcycle around town (they will be opening for the Japandroids during HPX) you should get out there and support the LAM Chicks, as they kick some serious ass, it was a great evening of entertainment and music.