Serena Ryder Fulfills Dream, Plays Commodore

Lesbians. Hipsters. Lesbian hipsters. Young Couples. Old Couples. And one really, really, really overly excited eager fan. This was the crowd at the Commodore Wednesday night. The star of the show? Serena Ryder. The audience that night exemplifies Ryder’s musical ability: variety. The concert-goers contained music-lovers from all parts of society and there was as much variation as Darwin’s Finches. Much like Serena herself. She can sing the ballads – All For Love, Weak in The Knees – as well as songs where she comes off as rockstar (like her uber-single Stompa, complete with a 70s/80’s triangle guitar). Then she can do really amazing like bring a fan up on stage with (the winner of her youtube contest) to do a duet. His name was Joseph, or something like it, and together him and Serena left jaws on the floor.

Unlike certain other Canadian singers, Serena is much-loved here in her home country by listeners from coast to coast. Though she might to break out and hit the big time thanks to the aforementioned ‘Stompa’, she has been on top of her game for years. (She has been singing professionally since she was a teenager). What her show Commodore really showed off was her talent as a songwriter.

Many of her lyrics have a lot of emotion attached to them and Serena displays all kinds of feelings on her face, depending on the type of song she is singing. Songs such as “Little Bit of Red” and “Stompa” show off her wilder, rocker side – complete with the flailing hair – as well as her skill as a guitar player. Her backing band was as good as good can be. I particularly enjoyed watching her piano player and occasional second guitarist, who resembled Effy Stonem with the hair of Helena Bonham Carter. Plus, she had strong vocals that is required of a backup singer.

I got the chance to speak with Serena last year at the Vancouver Folk Fest, and she gave one of the best responses to an interview question. I asked how much she had evolved as a singer and a person since she started out as a fourteen year old, her reply: “They say at a molecular level that the body replaces its cells every seven years. So I guess I’ve evolved three times” (She recently hit the big 3-0). Talk about cool. It’s that kind of wit and intelligence that makes Serena so endearing and it comes off wherever she plays.

She also fulfilled her own dream on Wednesday night (other than having Canada's boyfriend Strombo in her music video) by headlining at the Commodore, which he wanted to do ever since she was starting out. Plus, she got to do so with her mom in the audience. That’s pretty cool. Just like Serena.


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