Monday, October 15, 2007

The Alchemy Between Us

concert review: The Besnard Lakes, Young Galaxy, The Airfields @ Horseshoe Tavern (Toronto, Ontario), October 12, 2007

Young Galaxy @ Horseshoe: photo by Michael Ligon

Having already seen live two of the three acts at the Horseshoe Tavern last Friday night, The Besnard Lakes and The Airfields, it was a pleasant surprise that the relatively unknown act to me, Montreal band and recent Arts and Crafts signees Young Galaxy, were the most entertaining.

Toronto C86-influenced indiepop group The Airfields were the first openers of the night, as well as last minute replacements for Australia's New Buffalo, apparently due to Visa troubles. I know The Airfields can make their live set count like they did back in April at Sneaky Dee's, but this night was a fairly no-frills set of just good indiepop music. The band did just come back from Pop Montreal and maybe their still tired but I'm hoping the next time I see them live they'll infuse a little more energy into their set. On the plus side, the band was performing songs from their newly released limited-to-100-copies "Yr So Wonderful" 3-inch CD single which I snagged a copy of at the merch table and which you can currently listen to over at their MySpace. By the way, Frank Chromewaves shot the photo that graces the inside cover of the single.

For a moment, I'll skip ahead to headliners The Besnard Lakes. I saw them live back in March at Lee's Palace during Canadian Music Week and this time around their sonic blend of pyschedlic influences, 70's rock and Brian Wilson was as about as enjoyable as it was back in March. I'm no sooner becoming a bigger fan of them though unless perhaps they starting writing more songs like the haunting and spacious "Disaster" which has to be one of the freshest takes on Brian Wilson's influence I've heard in a long time. The Besnard Lakes can bring the jam-my rock but sometimes it 's more than my patience can take post-midnight.

Montreal's Young Galaxy were the sandwiched act of the night, but rather than get lost in the shuffle, they were the ones that stood out the most and got the best audience response. Young Galaxy is the brainchild of Stephen Ramsay and Catherine McCandless. Stephen was once a guitarist with Stars, but Young Galaxy[even with the co-frontpersons role of Stephen(guitar/vocals) and Catherine(vocals/percussion)] don't sound much like Stars in my opinion. Rounding out their sound with bass guitar, keyboards and drums, and enshrouded during much of their set in smoke-machine smoke and coloured lights, the band performed a tight set of pop music spanning the genre from the spacious, synth-y "The Alchemy Between Us", to the spare, solemn electro-pop of "Swing Your Heartache" and the magnificent, invigorating "Outside Your City" featuring the lead vocals of Catherine McCandless who transformed the song into something reminiscent of 90's Sub Pop indiepop group Velocity Girl. Yay, Velocity Girl. I could listen to "Outside Your City" all day. Of all the Arts & Crafts artists Young Galaxy possess the slickest pop sheen, but at least from what I witnessed last Friday, not to the detriment of the music.

As usual I took some photos at the show. Smoke-machine overload. Whoah.

More reviews/photos of the show over at It's Not The Band I Hate... and

Video: Young Galaxy - "Outside Your City" (music video)
Video: The Besnard Lakes - "Disaster" (live september 17, 2007 @ the hi-dive in denver) *
MySpace: The Besnard Lakes
MySpace: Young Galaxy
MySpace: The Airfields

* courtesy of dthawkley

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