Ryan Dahle goes solo
By Laura Melvin
Vancouver alt-rock mainstay, Ryan Dahle, played to a crowded Biltmore Cabaret Thursday night at the release party for his first solo album, Irrational Anthems. Most people associate Dahle, and his brother Kurt, with the bands Age of Electric and Limblifter, both of which had massive success in the 90s. After Age of Electric disbanded and his brother moved on to the New Pornographers, Dahle recruited new Limblifter members—including Meegee Bradfield who joins him on his solo disc—to keep the band alive. These days, Dahle takes his talent and creativity and channels it into producing albums for fellow Canadians and Vancouverites Hot Hot Heat and The Manvils. Looks like Ryan has talent and creativity to spare, however, with a solo album that has all the energy of Age of Electric or Limblifter—and unique, thought provoking song titles and lyrics.
To help celebrate his solo debut, Dahle had Canadian artists Debra-Jean and Prairie Cat start the party. Opener Debra-Jean enchanted the audience with a simple three-guitar arrangement and impressively powerful and emotive vocals. Prairie Cat followed with a fun, crowd-pleasing set, with a lot of songs about ex-girlfriends, which effectively warmed up the Biltmore and filled the dance floor. By the time Dahle began his set, the crowd had crammed in front of the stage: Neck-craning and standing on tip-toe became the dominant dance moves of the night.
Irrational Anthems is an intriguing and infectious album, complete with an eye-catching album cover that looks a lot like a jungle gym made of PVC tubing. With an album like this, the CD release party was bound to be a success. Dahle’s years of experience showed in his performance—excellent vocals, stage presence, and a venue perfectly suited to an intimate album launch. Though there were more guest-list patrons than cover-payers at the Biltmore Thursday night, I’m sure that the entire crowd would have happily paid the ten dollars to celebrate Ryan Dahle’s first solo release.
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