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.
Spinner, Chart, The Montreal Gazette, hour.ca, The List, The Montreal Mirror, CBC and NOW all have feature pieces on the Besnard Lakes.
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
Spinner talks to Think About Life, who play Lee’s Palace tonight at 1AM.
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.
Torontoist questions Dan Mangan, who plays the Courthouse tonight at 11PM, Criminal Records tomorrow at 6PM and the Horseshoe on April 22.
eye takes a look inside the apartment of Rural Alberta Advantage frontman Nils Edenloff. It’s okay, they were invited. Spinner settles for a chat.
The Toronto Star, Lucid Forge and Torontoist talk to Woodhands, who have just announced they’ll be playing tonight (!) at Wrongbar as a last-minute CMF addition – tickets are $12.50, on sale now.
Chart interviews The Balconies, whom they’re rightly declared a hot act. Witness the hotness at the Horseshoe Saturday night at 9:20PM
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 National Post Q&A’s Great Lake Swimmers.
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.
MP3: The Weakerthans – “Plea From A Cat Named Virtue”
Video: The Weakerthans – “Tournament Of Hearts” (live)
Popolio has a quick interview with Ume. They’re playing Eastbound & Down during SxSW at 2:05PM.
Filter and Michigan Live talk to Ted Leo. The Filter piece is a two-parter.
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.
Spinner talks to Centro-Matic.
My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan tells Spinner he’s glad the band took a break.
The Scotsman interviews Spoon, who are at the Sound Academy on March 29.
Spin checks in with The Thermals, who are in the studio working on their next album Personal Life, due out September 7.
Rolling Stone has words with Midlake. They play The Mod Club on May 25.
Sharon Van Etten talks to Spinner. She is at the Horseshoe on April 5.
hour.ca interviews Joanna Newsom, who plays a sold-out show at The Phoenix on Saturday night.
She & Him are the subject of features at Spinner and Billboard. Volume 2 is out March 23 and they play The Phoenix on June 9.
Soiree de poche has a video session with Beach House, who have a sold-out show at The Opera House on March 30 and are also playing the Toronto Islands Concert on June 19.
Blurt and Spinner have features on Wye Oak, here opening up for Shearwater on April 1.
Spinner talks to Phantogram, who will be at Supermarket tonight at 1AM.
Spin has debuted the video for the title track of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s new album Beat The Devil’s Tattoo. They are at The Phoenix on April 1 and again on April 11.
Video: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo”
Echo & The Bunnymen are sharing another track from their latest record The Fountain. They are at The Phoenix on April 23.
MP3: Echo & The Bunnymen – “Proxy”
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: Serena-Maneesh – “I Just Want To See Your Face”
Stream: Serena-Maneesh / S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor
Swedish folk sister act First Aid Kit have set a North American tour for June and will be at the Rivoli in Toronto on June 12. Their debut Drunken Trees came out last year.
MP3: First Aid Kit – “I Met Up With The King”
MP3: First Aid Kit – “You’re Not Coming Home Tonight”
Shout Out Louds have released a new mini-documentary about the making of their latest record, the just-released Work. They play the Mod Club on May 8.
Video: Shout Out Louds “At Work”
Drowned In Sound has posted the first of a multi-part interview with Jonsi. Go is out March 23 and he plays the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1.
Under The Radar interviews The Mary Onettes.