The Biltmore Cabaret in East Vancouver is serving up a sensory overload this Halloween, courtesy of Canadian indie musician Rich Aucoin, whose ‘Death Tour’, in support of his third full length album, Release, is set to take over the venue in a wash of synth, technicolor, inflatable coffins, and all around good vibes.
Emerging out of the Halifax, Nova Scotia, scene in the mid-2000’s, Aucoin’s music has always focused on his relentless positivity– his first tour, on the back of his debut EP Personal Publication, was a cross country endeavor undertaken on a bicycle, with Aucoin using the opportunity to raise money for cancer awareness charities. As he traversed the nation, Aucoin steadily recorded tracks for his full length LP, We’re All Dying to Live, incorporating 500 guest musicians along the way, including Jay Ferguson of Sloan. By the time the album premiered at the 2011 Halifax Pop Explosion, Aucoin had developed a solid following, and his set was performed with a cast of 80 different musicians.
The lead single off Dying to Live, ‘Brian Wilson is A.L.i.V.E.’ won Aucoin a Prism Prize for it’s movie reference laden video, and garnered significant praise on the independent scene, long listing Aucoin for a Polaris Prize. His live shows became the stuff of legend, particularly in his home town– I witnessed a 2012 performance in the now defunct Michael’s bar in North End Halifax, where Aucoin employed dozens of guest artists, a rotating playlist of movie clips, and inspirational quotes beamed across the walls and ceilings, as well as a rainbow colored parachute that the audience was eventually engulfed under, with Aucoin in the centre, holding court like a joyful ring leader.
As he relentlessly toured on the back of his debut, Aucoin began testing new material and performance techniques, breaking down the wall of his live show, and spending the majority of his set lists in the middle of the crowd surge, utilizing group choruses to enhance his live experience. The result of the years on the road, was Aucoin’s second album, Ephemeral, designed to sync up thematically with the musician’s favourite book, ‘The Little Prince.’ Ephemeral is an ambient soundscape of distorted vocals, and washed synthesizers, evoking a mood of isolation, and drifting in space. It bridges the gap thematically between the straight forward pop rock of Aucoin’s debut, with the introspective airiness the artist employs on Release.
For this latest tour, Aucoin is embracing the concept of life and death, being carried to the stage in an inflatable pink coffin. If his previous work and live performances are any indication, Thursday’s Halloween showcase at the Biltmore will be a confetti strewn, vibrant, pop-culture loaded celebration. Tickets are on sale for this 19+ event, and you can grab them for under 20 bucks. Doors open at 7PM, at 2755 Prince Edward St.