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Capitol 10th: The Yukon Blonde experience rolls into Saskatoon (May 7th/2024)

Updated: 6 days ago

by Scott Roos

photos by Tracy Creighton/Copperblue Photography and Design

This past Tuesday, May 7th, Vancouver indie pop scene stalwarts Yukon Blonde performed an energetic set at the Capitol Music Club. Victoria’s Layten Kramer and band opened up the evening. This event served as the fourth in a series of concerts meant to celebrate the venue’s tenth anniversary. It was a solid night of music that everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy. 

Starting things off, Kramer offered up an interesting stew of dreamy folk-rock. His stage demeanor became more and more subdued as he stuck close to his microphone for much of his set, subtly but slyly strumming a red Gibson with his stage banter humourous and low key and kept to a minimum. There were elements of psychedelia with slow and deliberate metaphorical fist bumps in the direction of classic rock icons like Lennon, Pink Floyd and as well what could only be described as B.C. nuanced indie soundscapes. Kramer’s chill vibes warmed up the stage admirably for headliner Yukon Blonde. 

After a brief pause, Yukon Blonde, complete with a three keyboard set-up alongside guitars and drums, took the stage with “Shuggie Come Back”. As they are currently touring their recently released full length Shuggie much of the evening was devoted to showcasing those songs. At different times, apart from the aforementioned opening song, “Every Single Time You Fall In Love”, “Txt Me Plz”, “Not Interested”, and “Up 2 U”, among others, crept their way into the Yukon Blonde set. The Shuggie songs, representing a refining of the heavy leanings in the direction of the electro pop that was hinted at on Vindicator, grooved along as the crowd swayed to the beat and bobbed their heads in appreciation.  Other standout songs included a few for the OG fans of the band like 2011 singalong stomper “Fire” off of their Fire//Water ep, “Radio” off of 2012’s Tiger Talk, the psychedelic, disco meanderings of “Saturday Night” off of 2015’s On Blonde, and “Summer In July” off of 2018’s Critical Hit. The legacy and nostalgia was there with the bands "new" sound being the most dominant in the set.

As the evening progressed, vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist Jeff Innes acted as a nefarious maestro commanding respect that only a well versed frontman can. Guitarist Brandon Scott definitely dug the vibe that was being laid down throughout as he cranked out some pretty tasty solos and backed up Innes’ pop sojourns most admirably. It should be noted that Innes and Scott had tremendous on stage chemistry that was fun to watch. Drummer Graham Jones was in the pocket throughout with bassist James Younger filling out the bottom end playing electric bass as well as several of his bass lines on a keyboard that was propped onto a stand in front of him. Keyboardist and virtuoso tambourine player J3M from Toronto filled out the band giving them that extra electro push over the cliff.

In general, Yukon Blonde, at their most egregious, could come off to the uninitiated as funkified mock rock, heavily reliant on the low hanging fruit of trendy dance beats and, at times, predictable, somewhat goofy lyrics. But, on the flipside, if you let Yukon Blonde’s sonics wash over you, and surrender to the sound, there is a depth there that is undeniable. It’s fun. Sometimes it’s silly. You can kinda just jump around and be stupid or slowly groove in appreciation for the entirety of their schtick; surrendering your inhibitions to essentially just BE in that moment in time. The musicality is there in spades to be sure but it’s not meant to be something that you would overthink or over analyze. They ain’t prog rock. So, if anything, this show at the Capitol Music Club underscored a Yukon Blonde that has matured, evolved and polymorphed into something more akin to an experience. And that uniquely Yukon Blonde experience is a can't miss if it comes to your town.

The cavalcade of amazing shows taking place during the Capitol Music Club's tenth anniversary keeps on truckin' with a lot of great ones still to come. Check out their social media and get in on the action! Every show during the month of May is going to be a total banger.

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