The Besnard Lakes played Rough Trade with USA Out of Vietnam (pics, setlist)
photos by Greg Cristman; words by Bill Pearis
"I heard New York got a little snow last last night...you fucking pussies!" Jace Lacek, leader of The Besnard Lakes, was joking with the Rough Trade crowd about the inch or so accumulation on the ground Saturday (1/24). "It was, like, negative 31 centigrade when we left Montreal, that's about where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet." I reason to leave freezing Montreal is as good an excuse to tour as any. The band don't have a new album -- though they said they're working on it now for an end-of-2015 release -- but seemed energized on Saturday, maybe the best I've ever seen them.
Few bands do this sort of widescreen rock so well, with so little pretense or cheese. Their 2010 album was titled The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night which is a fitting descriptor. "Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent," which opens that album, remains the best example of what it is they do so well: giant waves of guitar, soaring leads and vocals, all crashing over you. This was a new lineup of the band, with longtime guitarist Richard White retiring from touring and The High Dials' Robbie MacArthur in his place, plus new keyboardist Sheenah Ko augmenting Lacek, bassist singer Olga Goreas and drummer Kevin Laing. They genuinely sounded fantastic, with a simple but effective LED lite-brite-type light show. They don't really need much.
Opening on this tour is fellow Montreal band USA out of Vietnam whose frontman Son Of Fogman has toured as a member of Besnard Lakes in the past. The band mix post-rock, metal, shoegaze and other styles reductively called "loud" with string sections and other grand elements. Their debut, Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes, came out last summer and you can stream it below. They made for a good lead-in on Saturday night.
More pictures from the whole show, and Besnard Lakes' setlist, below...
SETLIST: The Besnard Lakes @ Rough Trade 1/24/2014
People of the Sticks
And This is What We Call Progress
Light Up The Night
Colour Yr Lights In
And You Lied to Me