Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Besnard Lakes at the Troubadour, 5/13/10

Most of what I write on here pertains to live music, and very little of it is negative.  I'd like to think I can be objective, but honestly, I love it too much sometimes to be able to step back and call it like it is.  Don't get me wrong, I'm sincere in my praise, but much like how food tastes great when you're hungry, regardless of the actual quality, I have such an appetite for the experience of a show that it becomes varying degrees of awesome, not a question of good or bad.  The best, though, is the first time I get to see a band with which I've recently fallen into a torrid affair.  It's one thing to listen to an album (or albums) over and over, but another thing altogether to see it brought to life.  That was where I found myself a couple weeks ago at the Troubadour.

I know it's just coming up on June, but The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night is my early leader for record of the year.  It has a psychedelic vibe, swirling guitars acting almost as background noise for the high, soaring vocals of lead singers/married couple Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas.  Until it's time for a solo, that is, and then the Besnard Lakes really show off their chops.  Live it was no different, though Lasek's guitar needed to be louder (look, I can be negative!), and the band did allow itself to get sidetracked by all the lame Canadian jokes the crowd kept making.  "Wayne Gretzky!"  "Maple syrup!"  It made for a funny evening when they bantered back, but it did hurt the momentum of the show in a couple places.

But other than those few moments of distraction, the band played their epic songs with power and enthusiasm.  "Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent" opened the show with almost ten minutes of slowly building force, culminating in the first of many memorable solos.  The songs tend to have a similar structure, with a slower beginning leading to a mixture of Lasek's and Goreas' paired vocals guiding the guitars to a climax, oftentimes stopping right when you think they're about to shred some more.  There's something to be said for a formula that's working, though, and each song is its own thing.  Lasek has a strong, high voice, and Goreas can only be said to sing beautifully.  Other highlights were "The Land of Living Skies" (my personal favorite), "And You Lied to Me," "Devastation" and "Light Up the Night."  They only played twelve songs, leaving me wanting more, but they proved they were more than just a studio creation.  The first time was great, if not flawless, and I'm excited for the next.

Set List: Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent / Devastation / For Agent 13 / Glass Printer / Chicago Train / Light Up the Night / Albatross / And This is What We Call Progress / Disaster / And You Lied to Me

Encore: The Land of Living Skies / Thomasina

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