Review – Boy Golden at the Hollywood Theatre, Vancouver, Oct 12 2023
The minister started his sermon with a song about smoking darts. Armed with an impressive mullet, a red keyboard, and musings of living simply and making your own joy, Boy Golden is not your average minister. On that note, the Church of Better Daze is not your average church.
Founded in 2020 by Boy Golden himself, the church has inspired one album by the artist (or maybe it’s the other way around), and is doubtless a unique framing device for a musical project. The title-track from the 2021 album shares the vision for the church: it’s about sharing a joint with your friends, calling your mom, and taking it easy. And if this set doesn’t inspire you to do just that, I don’t know what will.
Performer Liam Duncan hasn’t been playing long under the name Boy Golden. Perhaps because of this, the gratitude he seemed to have for all who came out on a Thursday to dance along to his music was clear and genuine. And his disciples certainly did show up, in the proper garb and all; more than one Canadian tuxedo was on display. In return, Boy Golden showed his gratitude by hanging out at the merch table both before and after the show.
While often upbeat and danceable, Boy Golden took pauses a few times to play some softer tunes, one of which he’d never played before. Introducing the new song, he labeled himself “pretty self-indulgent” for only playing it for himself the past year. The combination of stellar musicians, Boy Golden’s twangy and crisp voice, and the Hollywood Theatre’s excellent acoustics and sound system provided for a show that sounded phenomenal from beginning to end.
Member of Boy Golden’s band and hometown friend Fontine contributed secondary vocals throughout the show, and served as opener as well. Later, she took the lead on a cover of Emmylou Harris’ “Rhythm Guitar,” and showed that she can turn on the country twang when needed. She was a highlight of the night, as her and Boy Golden’s voices complemented each other greatly.
The crowd reacted as expected when Boy Golden began to play his biggest hit “KD and Lunch Meat” near the end of the show. An anthem about quitting your job and taking it easy—so long as we have a couple hundred between the two of us, that should be enough—the song is an earworm in the best sense. I think he’s right that we all need some time to unwind and take the edge off—something Boy Golden provided us all that night.
The best way to describe Boy Golden’s music might be alternative, country-western, swing rock. And the even best-er way to describe his music is fun. Couples danced together and friends sang along, all captivated by the jumpsuit-wearing group of musicians jamming on the stage. The energy was so uplifting and joyous that when Boy Golden took a moment to tell the Vancouver crowd that this was the show he was most excited for, you couldn’t help but believe him.