Royal Canoe opened up for Alt-J at Hammerstein Ballroom last Saturday and while they performed, I was struck with equal amounts of awe and total confusion. Moments of complete musical grandeur was met with the strange usage of (I’m guessing) vocoders used to morph vocalist Matt Peter’s voice, which would randomly occur throughout the performance. When this six-piece aren’t producing weird vocal reverb sounds, Royal Canoe straight-up jam out on stage. Six people on stage is a hell of a lot and yet somehow, they’re incredibly cohesive and tight when they perform. “Birthday” was opened with of course, asking the crowd if it was anyone’s birthdays. Which then lead to about 13 people claiming it was their day of birth but more importantly, a beautiful myriad of sounds and textures reverberating from the stage. The track was played beautifully, with Royal Canoe looking so genuinely happy onstage. Crowd favorite “Just Enough” had the venue swaying to the sweet sounds of Royal Canoe while their eerie stage lighting had their shadows projected onto the walls of Hammerstein Ballroom. All in all, this band’s sweet instrumentals were the perfect opener for Alt-J.
Royal Canoe is Matt Peters, Bucky Driedger, Matt Schellenberg, Brendan Berg, Derek Allard, Michael Jordan.