Posted in music | pictures on June 2, 2010

photos by Andrew St. Clair, words by Rachel Kowal

Besnard Lakes

Going into Friday night's show at the Bowery Ballroom, I thought I was in for a mellow evening, but boy was I wrong. Holopaw, the first of two openers, may have made good use of the pedal steel, but thanks to a healthy dose of electric guitar as well, their Americana bent definitely recalls good old indie rock... and even a little punk. And from there, things just got more raucous.

Canadian group Land of Talk makes the kind of music that's made for dancing with abandon in your empty apartment. With the exception of a few mellower tunes, the majority of their catalogue is upbeat and packed with raw power. Lead singer (and sole female member) Lizzie Powell is far more than eye candy. She may have a sweet demeanor, but with a guitar around her neck and a mic at her lips, she is fierce - and quite emotive when it comes to facial expressions.

Land of Talk is a fitting band for the evening - and not just thanks to their sound and impressive energy level. Their upcoming album (to be released in August) on Saddle Creek was produced by Besnard Lakes singer Jace Lasek (who has also worked with Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown). At the end of Land of Talk's set, Lasek also joined them on stage to contribute backing vocals.

By the time The Besnard Lakes took to the stage, it was already nearing midnight but spirits were high. After playing just a single song, Jace Lasek excitedly announced: "Ladies and gentlemen, it's a very special day. It's my wife Olga's birthday." For her birthday, bass player Olga ('Auggie') Goreas had apparently put in a request for unending mojitos from a man dressed like Fidel Castro, but Lasek was unable to find someone with the right facial hair configuration and the appropriate army fatigues. Goreas did get a mojito and a chorus of Happy Birthdays from the audience, though.

Mojitos and birthday announcements out of the way, The Besnard Lakes launched into "For Agent 13" from The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse, which features a nice call and response with Lasek and Goreas on vocals. With the exception of a few sleepier songs like their 2007 stand-out track "Disaster," the majority of the songs in the headliner's set had a definite bent toward rock. I suppose it's hard not to act like a rockstar when you've got what must have been a custom-made 12-string sparkling white guitar and tinted aviators like Lasek. Given the name of their newest album, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, I guess I should have had a better idea of what to expect.

The Besnard Lakes wrapped up their nine-song set with the expansive song "And You Lied to Me," which features a pretty sweet guitar solo. Mid song, Lasek walked over to Goreas and started jamming, and before they walked off stage, Lasek leaned gave the birthday girl a hug and a kiss.

After a brief hiatus backstage, the band came back for another couple of songs - Goreas, with mojito in hand. In response to a couple of screaming audience members, The Besnard Lakes closed with "Thomasina" from their 2007 EP, Volume 1.

The two openers' setlists, some videos and more pictures from the whole night, below...

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Besnard Lakes - Like the Ocean.../Devastation (Live) from Big Ass Lens on Vimeo.

Besnard Lakes - Albatross (Live) from Big Ass Lens on Vimeo.

Holopaw setlist
Needle in the Sway
Hoover
The Art Teacher and the LIttle Stallion
Diamonds
Slip
The Last Transmission (Honeybee)
Little Shaver
Virgin
The Lazy Matador
The Conductor and the Hobbyist (Avalanche)

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Land of Talk setlist
Corner Phone
Yuppy Flu
Sea Foam
Some Are Lakes
May You Never
Sixteen Asterisk
Quarry Hymns
Speak to me Bones
Young Bridge
It's Okay

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Comments (11)

land of talk is one of the best bands.

holopaw more like holosucks.

Posted by j | June 2, 2010 3:21 PM

Yeah. I think Land of Talk actually ended up being my favorite part of the evening by far.

Posted by RK | June 2, 2010 5:31 PM

The clip from Besnard Lakes is fantastic! I love long-form songs with different sections and lots of dynamic range.

Posted by Brian | June 2, 2010 5:53 PM

Holopaw was the surprise hit of that show

Posted by charlie | June 2, 2010 7:21 PM

Holosucks? I thought they were pretty great. The new songs they played were especially exciting.

Posted by EM | June 2, 2010 8:01 PM

Great montage of photos. What camera were you using?!

Missed the show. Glad you all enjoyed it. Holopaw def does not holosuck. And have you even heard of Ugly Casanova?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugly_Casanova

Posted by Ryan | June 6, 2010 1:38 PM

Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie were really good albums. Got them when they came out, still throw them on at times and think they're great. It saddens me when I hear bands from that era when I was a teenager and hear their new stuff and it's so clear how they've lost it, they sound desperate to recapture a sound/magic that they haven't had in 15 years (holy shit).... And then I realize that is not unlike a lot of us.

Posted by منتديات | January 21, 2011 8:03 PM

you dave haters can go fuck yourselves. bonnaroo 2010 was 4 of the best days of my life. the DMB and JayZ headliners at the main stage were two of the best shows I've ever seen, musically and production speaking. 2011 'roo is going to be amazing. Phish headlining?

Posted by وظائف | January 30, 2011 3:36 PM

you dave haters can go fuck yourselves. bonnaroo 2010 was 4 of the best days of my life. the DMB and JayZ headliners at the main stage were two of the best shows I've ever seen, musically and production speaking. 2011 'roo is going to be amazing. Phish headlining?

Posted by Anonymous | January 30, 2011 3:38 PM

they also played at a place called Tramps in april '99 losers. with qotsa. where were you? you guys sound pretty angry? go listen to something hip. whatever the fuck you think that is. why does james iha need to be in the band for them to be good? that makes no sense. so the band changed lineups. oh well.

Posted by يوتيوب | February 5, 2011 12:18 PM

they also played at a place called Tramps in april '99 losers. with qotsa. where were you? you guys sound pretty angry? go listen to something hip. whatever the fuck you think that is. why does james iha need to be in the band for them to be good? that makes no sense. so the band changed lineups. oh well.

Posted by صور | February 5, 2011 2:21 PM

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