Nearing the halfway point of their current American tour, Montreal indie rock foursome The Besnard Lakes dropped by the legendary Troubadour in Los Angeles last Thursday, May 13, 2010. Walking out just past 10pm, amidst a swirling fog from two smoke machines and a big-brother-esque recording of a muffled voice over the PA, bassist and singer Olga Goreas greeted the crowd as they band crawled into a long-held guitar yawn that slowly built and crashed into their first number.
Taking a clue from the rabbit hole, this first song pounced from chunky, soloed-out rock of the 70’s variety to a near shoegazey, wall of sound haze. It proved quite a nice middle ground to set the show. Though on record the tunes present some delicate, near forgiving sound to them, live, the music takes some friendlier, light-beer drinking take on heavy reminiscers Darker My Love while led through the haze by the husband-and-wife exchange of Goreas and lead singer Jace Lasek. Most songs standout, “Albatross” included, are sung together in a harmonic, sort of saintly croon that helps hold the overall bold and fuzzy backbone in place. Openers for the last handful of dates, local LA outfit, The Happy Hollows were name checked by Lasek who thanked them for “ruling.”
Lasek fit the bill perfectly sporting a rose-embroidered shirt, a flared pant-and-boot combo and long, blonde Robert Plant hair. In between sips of Lasek’s small glass of red wine, after the song “Chicago Train,” a more comical side was presented after certain members of the crowd began playfully yelling overtly Canadian things in-between songs: “Yay hockey,” “cold weather,” “Wayne Gretzky” and “Maple syrup,” to which the singer replied “oh no it’s on; if we get enough maple syrup on your bald eagle he just won’t know what to do.”
Overall the foursome’s set took a drawling, harmonic approach that seemed more than perfect for the older, tote-bag-wearing-by-night indie rock fan. The head-bobby sound is well layered, well executed and completely in debt of the husband-wife exchange of Goreas and Lasek, both of whom collectively possess an impressive set of pipes between them. Their newest effort, “The Besnard Lakes are The Roaring Night,” is out now via Jagjaguwar.
Words: Matt Draper
Photos: Craig Parker
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