The Mission Creek opening night show at the Rickshaw Stop was a stacked bill from top to bottom and, bursting at the seams with talent, it managed to start late and end later. Still, it was well-attended over the course of the evening and featured a number of excellent performances.

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Rykarda Parasol
Photo by: www.xaviergomez.com

An appreciative Rykarda Parasol headlined the show, thanking the crowd for staying for her set. It was a thanks not needed, though, as Parasol, backed by her band The Tower Ravens, delivered a great, if abridged, set reminding me to go back and give Our Hearts First Meet yet another spin. My most recent experience seeing Rykarda live was her solo performance at a Bay Bridged Presents show. While that setting emphasized the more intimate elements in her songwriting, Thursday night's set emphasized the rock side, delivering some great droning guitar work and emotive group vocals.

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The Harbours
Photo by: ndkoster.com

Another high point came from Miguel Zelaya's The Harbours, who won over the crowd early and kept them throughout the set. Miguel's strong voice and the band's tight melodies were spot-on, but I was also impressed by the strong, lean electric guitar work, which propels their songs from hook to hook. You should definitely check The Harbours out when you can.

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Caves

The surprise performance of the night, however, came from opening band Caves, which frontman Zach Brewer called Caves of Wonder and Caves of Light, among other names. It looks like the full list of names is on their MySpace page, but the take-away point is that this is a band to watch. Both Brewer and guitarist Wymond Miles perform in the Tower Ravens, but Caves's songs stand apart from Parasol's, blending a number of genres and integrating alternate instrumentation, like a ukelele, with little effort. Now I just need to hear their album, Here is Vision.