Here’s a live review of Alden Penner and Michael Cera written thnkfrthrvwforthnksfrthrvw
Date: 22/06/2015 – The Boileroom, Guildford
So it all began with Michael Cera, a beloved indie/comedy actor-turned-musician collaborating with fellow Canadian alt-rock artist, Alden Penner on his upcoming EP ‘Canada in Space’ (out on 29 June), and now, they are touring Europe together.
With the Boileroom almost at full capacity, it is safe to say that the atmosphere was one of anticipation, excitement, and slight disbelief that Michael Cera, the man who brought us Scott Pilgrim vs. the world, Superbad and Youth in Revolt with his consistently socially awkward, obscure and lovable character was here in small-town Guildford. This tense ambiance was then intensified by the house lights being kept low throughout at the request of Alden Penner.
Alden Penner arrived on the stage with a warm welcome, and the gig kicked off with a stripped back delicate song consisting of only his smooth guitar melodies and beautiful voice. Things then quickly escalated with Alden welcoming onto the stage Michael Cera, with –as can be expected- a roar of applause and fangirling from across the room. Cera started off on bass, and although it was almost predictable, it was great to see the similarities between Cera’s and the character of Scott Pilgrim’s performance on bass. This moment was very quickly ruined, by someone in the crowd repeatedly shouting out requests for The Sex Bob-Ombs’s stuff to be played, even though this was Cera’s chance to do his own thing.
The band’s second song “Word” was a beautiful musical adaptation of the work of Canadian poet Alden Nowlan, with Penner on vocals and Cera on the keyboard. Starting off with a hauntingly gracious build up followed by a break off into a psych-rock finish, this track demonstrated the unique and intriguing sounds that can only seem to be produced by Canadians. After a superb finish, in classic kind-hearted Canadian style, Penner did something that is almost never done in music venues, asked if he was being too loud.
The gig continued with a distinctive psych/electro track, “Can’t believe”. It was at this point, the band showcased how diverse their sound really is. After seeing how it got the crowd moving, Cera, spoke for the first time, saying, “it’s very danceable that one, sounds good doesn’t it.” A heart-warming moment for everyone in the room.
As enjoyable and partly surreal as this gig was, it was unfortunately clear that this was their first gig of the European tour. There were a few instances of feedback and other technical difficulties, this was perhaps due to the use of obscure instruments and niche German mics throughout. There were also a few moments, especially (and sadly) with Michael Cera on lead vocals that I felt of lack of practice and harmony between the band members. Nevertheless, this gig was a brilliant showcase of not only Michael Cera’s wide spectrum of talent and intriguing influences, but also Alden Penner’s ability to continuously create wonderfully abstract and captivating sounds, no matter where he is playing and with whom he is playing.
For fans of: The Unicorns, Nick Diamonds, Clues