On Saturday, March 30th, The Art We Are played host to two bands from the Vancouver area, Porteau and Ursidae. They were on the last date of a two week tour that took them through Alberta and British Columbia.
Porteau, a duo merging pop, folk and electronics, were on tour supporting their debut album Water’s Gate. Victoria Williams handled the lead vocals and a very minimalist style of keyboard, while Craig Stevenson played guitar and sang back up. Their music has an eerie, spacy tone to it, not unlike late 80s and early 90s UK pop bands like The Sundays. Their live set was much more stripped down than their more produced work on their album, with an almost new age Celtic feel, with William’s willowy but assertive vocals dominating the music.
Ursidae is the alter ego of Caro Deady, performing solo, but the band has other members in a studio setting. Her style was minimalist folk-pop, with dreamy vocals over a softly-strummed electric guitar. Reminiscent of Bon Iver or Natalie Merchant, her work was wispy, vulnerable but with an earnest instance behind it. She was plagued by electrical problems in her guitar, leading to her being shocked several times, but she switched guitars late in her set to get back on track. Porteau joined her for her second to last album for some nice vocal harmonies.