Review – Haley Heynderickx at the Bilmore, Vancouver, Apr 19, 2023
On the stage at the Biltmore Cabaret, the soft-spoken and endearing Haley Heynderickx confessed her foibles and shared dreams, both in the form of songs and the chatter in between. The two sold-out shows in Vancouver were the second stop on her spring tour, which began in Portland and continues in the USA.
Supported on stage by Daniel Rossi on drums and Matthew Holmes on the standing bass, Heynderickx performed a mix of older tracks as well as several unreleased songs slated for release in an upcoming album. As she came to the climax of 2018’s “Oom Sha La La” the crowd joined in fervently, “I need to start a garden!” They yelled loudly with Heynderickx—apparently Vancouverites can relate. The crowd continued singing along to the onomatopoeic chorus and as the song ended, Heynderickx noted, “You’re part of the band now”. The only job requirements are providing your own van for the six hour drives and singing along.
Heynderickx’s onstage banter included shared stories and feelings, from memories of trips with friends to tuning anxiety. The lesson learned: don’t tune your guitar sitting down and then stand up to play. Soft-spoken but smiley, the Portland-based artist also confessed her envy of Canada’s health care and joked about looking for Canadian citizenship. A quick reply was shouted from the crowd, “I’ll give it to you!”
Though the musical vibe was soft and a bit solemn, Heynderickx’s introspective yet witty lyrics combined with intricate finger-picking elevated the seemingly uncomplicated performance. As the evening wound down, Heynderickx declared that they would play only two more songs, with the last serving as the “encore”. Echoing my own feelings of protest against the long-standing, but now manufactured tradition, she noted the pointlessness of going off stage to, “giggle behind the sheet and wait until we decide it’s long enough.” Even without the theatrics, the final two songs were an impressive end to the evening.
She began with Louis and the Redwoods, where she explores the feeling of escaping it all and feeling very small amongst very large trees. The song, yet unreleased, is one of her catchiest and evokes the captivating style of Joni Mitchell.
The last tune of the night was inspired by her mother and her grandmother and highlights the sentiment, “there’s artistry in the day to day”. Before she begins, Heynderickx notes that true artists don’t just play an instrument or hold a paintbrush, they may tend a garden or be excellent cooks. Heynderickx own artistry proves inspiring to those in attendance. Her talent is conveyed through the room, in her voice and her words and the music reverberating off the walls and onto the equally thoughtful, smiling faces in the crowd.