Leif Vollebekk with Isaac Taylor at The Imperial, 12/06/2017
Just one guy, an old pair of denim jeans, Blundstones and a guitar was the type of scene at the Imperial on Wednesday night (Dec. 6). Folk artist Isaac Taylor was that man standing centre-stage in the Blundstone boots. He started storytelling and captured the audience the minute he stepped onstage. Taylor has opened for Leif Vollebekk for the last five shows of his tour and there is definitely a budding bromance happening between the two.
Taylor’s heart was full of love for the tour, his music and his wife. This passion pours out of him like warm honey. Oozing with love, he shared story after story of his travels and how he met his adored wife: “I was in Hawaii and one morning I walked into a coffee shop and there she was, she just lit up the place and I knew I was in love with her. I knew she loved me but she never told me so. I wrote letters to her and her boyfriend Hayden for four years, until everything was right and here we are today”. He then got into his set by saying, “this is a love song for my wife, I’m not going to play the dirty one – or actually maybe I will.” He closed his eyes, rocked back and forth and played a heart melting, magical set.
With a few minutes to run to the bar and grab a fresh beer, everyone eagerly waited for Canada’s own Leif Vollebekk to take the stage. Starting off with some goofy spoken word poetry, Vollebekk appropriately greeted Vancouver fans with “Vancouver Time.” Vollebekk is currently touring his newest album Twin Solitude, which is shortlisted for the 2017 Polaris Music Prize. Vollebekk has a deep love for Vancouver and for the Pacific Northwest. He is originally from Ottawa, ON but has spent a lot time living in Montreal and Iceland. This beautiful combination of French and Icelandic influences is possibly what makes Vollebekk such a hauntingly beautiful singer and songwriter.
The set was simple, keys and bass on the left, drums upstage right and a plethora of guitars downstage. After his opening track, “Vancouver Time,” he played “Elegy,” “Off the Main Drag” and “Michigan.” He played a good mix of his older albums as well as songs off his newest album. Vollebekk plays as if he is in a trance. His keyboard acts as an opiate, the second his fingertips hit the keys his body melts and collapses over his keyboard, his eyes roll back in his head and the audience is instantly transcended. Vollebeck seamlessly moves from keys to guitar to harmonica. When you close your eyes and listen to his velvety, impassioned harmonica solos you can picture yourself camping deep in the woods warmed by a fire with no light but that of the stars.
Vollebekk and Taylor together brought real soul and tender folk to the Imperial on a wintery Vancouver night. This type of raw, emotional talent is rare to find. As audience members left and walked out into the cold, their hearts were full and warm.