by Lubaba Mahmud, Staff Writer
Tall Heights made a stop in Vancouver during their 2020 tour, so even though I had an assignment due the next day that I had yet to start working on, I somehow convinced myself that I deserved some time off to see one of my favourite bands perform live. Let me tell you that it was TOTALLY worth it.
The concert’s opening act introduced us to Spanish-American singer Victoria Canal. Her infectious smile and energy made her instantly likable to the crowd. Sporting a sparkly yellow bandana, a gorgeous printed kimono and gold hoop earrings, Canal was not afraid to stand out.
She talked about her song-writing journey, expressing that as someone with a disability, she initially struggled to find a place for herself. As she sang “Ebony,” which she described as an ode to music as a sanctuary, the crowd cheered her strength and resilience.
She also shared the inspiration behind her song “Not Afraid,” which was about saying “I love you” too soon. While talking to her former partner on the phone, she accidentally told them she loved them while hanging up, “like you would say to your mom” laughed Canal, but the other person responded with “Omg I love you so much too.” Yikes. It’s something about the fear of rushing into love headfirst, or fearing that the other person is going in too soon while you’re still hesitant, that makes this story both funny and relatable. I hadn’t heard her songs before the concert, but she’s found a fan in me now.
After Canal wrapped up her performance, headliner Tall Heights came on, ready to own the stage. To my delight, they began their set with my personal favourite song of theirs, “Horse to Water.” Like the badass musician that he is, Paul Wright brought out his cello and absolutely blew us away with his voice and brilliance. The medley of Wright and Tim Harrington’s voices sounded like they were made to complement each other. They played “Under Your Skin,” a song about navigating darkness, and expressed that considering the hatred and bigotry present in the world we live in, hope is pretty “punk rock.” I couldn’t agree more.
For the song “Cross My Mind,” the people in the audience were asked to call the person next to them and hold both phones in front of each other. This created a little eerie static sound, which might sound weird but actually complemented the background of this emotional song pretty well.
Tall Heights’ conversations with the crowd gave the impression that we were all friends attending a small, cozy gathering. Talking a little bit about their relationship, they quipped “We’re not brothers, we’re not lovers, we’re somewhere in between.” They also shared funny anecdotes from their tours, such as playing a Halloween show on a stage decorated with shit and blood. They joked about that audience just really waiting for dance music after their act, and thanked the Biltmore Cabaret for giving them a cleaner stage.
Tall Height’s tracks are melodious, slow, and tender. While most people just swayed with the rhythm, I remember this one girl beside me busting out some killer, low-key salsa-but-slow type dance moves beside me, which only goes on to prove how colourful Vancouver crowds can be.
For the final act, they came down from the stage to be amongst the audience, and the crowd formed a little circle around them. As we turned on our phone’s flashlight, the duo sang ”To Be Young,” which I think discusses reminiscing about youth whilst struggling through adulthood. Something about not using mics and being on the same level as the crowd made this act particularly intimate and memorable.
The Tall Heights concert was a perfect way to end the reading break, get me out of my mid-semester slump a little, and remember that music truly has the power to bring joy.