Friday, March 12th, 2010
Light Up The Night
The Besnard Lakes at Criminal Records in Toronto
Frank YangWednesday night’s in-store at Criminal Records had something for everyone. For The Besnard Lakes, it was an opportunity to refine the translation of their just-released new record The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night into live performance before setting out on a world tour that would take them and their much-anticipated new album across Europe and North America. For those in attendance, it was a chance to be amongst the first anywhere to hear the new songs live and in an intimate – and free – setting, without having to endure the crowds that would surely be jamming the Horseshoe last night at their official Canadian Musicfest last night. Win-win.
That said, the brightly-lit retail outlet was an unusual setting for a band as much about atmosphere as the Besnards. Partway through the set, bassist Olga Goreas mentioned how much she was missing their signature smoke machine and a little bit of that probably would have better set the mood for the show, through which the audience sat almost too-respectfully silent on the floor of the store. Instead, all the mood would have to come from the music – epic in scope and massive in weight and probably requiring more hands to reproduce live, not less. Yet the departure of keyboardist Nicole Lizee after the touring cycle for The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse was done left the band as a four-piece and as such, frontman Jace Lasek had to augment his guitar-playing and pedal-stomping with laptop and keyboard duties. And while they probably could have gotten away with simply playing louder, the extra care taken to reproduce the fullness of the Roaring Night material was appreciated.
The set was made up mostly of new material which, with the record having been officially available for less than 48 hours, was probably unfamiliar to much of the audience but they did throw the fans a bone with a single number off of Dark Horse before going even further back – I assume from their debut Volume 1 – for a closing number that sounded almost completely unlike their present-day material. It wasn’t the most engaging Besnard Lakes show I’d ever seen – as befit a dress rehearsal of sorts, they were concentrating more on the playing than the performing – but I’m sure that by the time they return to town, with The Roaring Night fully road-tested, it’ll be something to behold. And there’ll be the smoke-machine.
Photos: The Besnard Lakes @ Criminal Records – March 10, 2010
MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “Albatross”
MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “And You Lied To Me”
MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “For Agent 13”
Video: The Besnard Lakes – “For Agent 13”
Video: The Besnard Lakes – “Devastation”
Stream: The Besnard Lakes / The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
MySpace: The Besnard Lakes
John O’Regan of Diamond Rings graces the cover of this week’s eye, who also talk to his bandmate in The D’Urbervilles, Tim Bruton. Diamond Rings the Silver Dollar tonight at midnight, while The D’Urbs are up at 10PM at the Garrison.
The Sadies will release their new album, entitled Darker Circles, on May 18. Live dates are sure to follow, but I’m going to go out on a limb right now and say they’ll be at the Horseshoe on December 31.
The Weakerthans will celebrate the release of their live CD/DVD set Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre on March 23 with an in-store performance at Sonic Boom on March 24 at 5PM. Maybe they can play in front of the Burton Cummings vinyl section. They’ve also got a date at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 26.
Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers talks to Spinner about their next-next record, which will follow next week’s release of The Big To-Do with Go-Go Boots before the year is out. The Truckers are doubling up their next visit to Toronto with two nights at Lee’s Palace, April 6 and 7.
Serena-Maneesh will release their new album S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor on March 23 and are not only streaming the whole thing, but they’ve debuted a new video over at Stereogum. They will be at the Great Hall on April 2.
Video: Shout Out Louds “At Work”
Tags: Balconies, Beach House, Besnard Lakes, Centro-Matic, D'Urbervilles, Dan Mangan, Diamond Rings, Drive-By Truckers, Echo & The Bunnymen, First Aid Kit, Joanna Newsom, Jonsi, Mary Onettes, Midlake, My Morning Jacket, Phantogram, Rural Alberta Advantage, Sadies, Serena Maneesh, Sharon Van Etten, She & Him, Shout Out Louds, Spoon, Ted Leo, Thermals, Think About Life, Ume, Weakerthans, Woodhands, Wye Oak