Vansterdam showcases its ability to have a thoroughly blunted time with a debut from your new dub-rock staple.
The course of success charted by Vancouver's Daniel Wesley thus far is nothing short of righteous. Along with bassist Mark Luongo and drummer Alex Glassford, they officially called themselves a band in January of 2007. Sing + Dance was recorded in June of that year and basically self-released a couple months later. September saw them fill the local indie venue Richard's On Richards to its 500 capacity, as their lead single "Ooo Ohh" made its way onto the CFOX playlist. By November, the track was in heavy rotation at the powerful FM station, and would eventually be named their most requested song of '07. January of '08, exactly one year after forming, saw them impressively sell out the 1100 cap Commodore Ballroom in mere seconds, while their album gained support from a major for nationwide distribution.
It's been an epic climb to this point, but now is the true test of their metal. They are a blatant Vancouver band, with the town's standard of dub-rock jam flying high. It'll be something to see how well they translate to the rest of Canada and the world, where the pot is less potent and widely available. In the light of the raging popularity of Jack Johnson and Sublime and the continued underground buzz for Michael Franti, I think they have a good chance for some crossover success. The aforementioned "Ooo Ohh" is a blissful surfer-stoner anthem well deserving of the accolades it has received. With the refrain "gonna catch a wave and smoke a little ganja" floating over a lazy beat and the contemplative waka reggae licks that define the genre, it does everything but light your bowl for you.
Remembering The Vines' tastefully recast live version of "Ms. Jackson," the Daniel Wesley cover of Genuine's "My Pony" is not to be missed. The bass guitar renders a wicked facsimile of the raunchy bassline from the original hip-pop cut, while Dan's Chad Kreuger-ish vocals take it to a whole new place. Play this song for anyone you know and they won't recognize it until the chorus. Since so many Vansterdam bands hit a similar vein, I'd personally like to see Wesley's joy spread. And, though they won't be selling out Madison Square Gardens any time soon, as a self-declared professional critic, I believe they've got the goods to pull it off.