Gig Review: The Besnard Lakes, Night & Day Café, 23rd May 2007

The Besnard Lakes have released one of my favourite albums of 2007 thus far in Are The Dark Horse, an album chock full of epic shoegaze anthems with nods towards The Beach Boys, Neil Young and Spiritualized, among others. With its huge guitar sounds and multi-layered vocal harmonies I wasn’t really expecting their live show to live up to it, especially in such a small venue as the Night & Day and with only around 40 people in attendance thanks, presumably, to the Champions League final (watched the first half, went to gig, managed not to find out the score, watched second half when I got in. Easy).

Land Of Talk @ the Night & DaySupport was from Land Of Talk, yet another excellent Canadian band, a three-piece playing a fairly conventional brand of indie rock but melodically a cut above many of their peers. I spent much of the set marvelling at singer Elizabeth Powell’s guitar skills as she managed to bash out rhythm and lead parts at the same time and make it all look so easy. That she sang so well while doing this was all the more impressive. On this form their Applause Cheer Boo Hiss long player should be well worth checking out.

The Besnard Lakes were six members strong, including three with guitars and one with keyboard, and they set about dispelling any doubts I had about their abilities to transfer their songs to the live arena. They kicked off with “Ride The Rails”, probably my favourite song from Are The Dark Horse, and it was unbelievably good, the muted, moaning guitars and subtle keyboards of the verses giving way to Olga Goreas’ superb descending bass riff to usher in the glorious chorus. This lead straight into “Devastation” where the only disappointment of the evening was that its gargantuan riff managed to get lost somewhere in the mix.

The Besnard Lakes @ the Night & DayFrom thereon in things just got better and better, the lonely atmosphere of an almost empty room was transformed by a band who played like they were playing to several thousand, the epic nature of the songs uninhibited by the size of the venue. There were so many highlights: Jace Lasek’s superb falsetto on “For Agent 13”; the sweet harmonies and pounding chorus of “Disaster”; the end of “Because Tonight” when the guitars take off and soar to the heavens, striking the few people who had started to chat to each other during the quiet bits dumb. I’m pretty sure that this gig will be up there in my end of year polls come December. Shame on you all for staying in to watch the football.

Land Of Talk – Summer Special

The Besnard Lakes – Ride The Rails

4 Responses to “Gig Review: The Besnard Lakes, Night & Day Café, 23rd May 2007”

  • Ray Says:

    I misread “Besnard Lakes” as “Barenaked Ladies.” I’m somehow disappointed and relieved at the same time.

  • The Ledge Says:

    That must have been very confusing – Barenaked Ladies doing an album of shoegaze anthems. If only…

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