Besnard Lakes, Suuns, Valleys trip out @ Lee’s
As Besnard Lakes front man Jace Lasek looked out into the near-capacity crowd at Lee’s Palace Saturday night, he admitted, “It’s always shocking to see so many fucking people.”
And while a sold-out show at a venue like Lee’s would be small potatoes for fellow Montreal scenesters Arcade Fire or Wolf Parade, The Besnard Lakes have always played the proverbial ‘Dark Horse’ in their circle of Montreal giants.
Opening was Valleys, a young Montreal 3-piece of experimental droners, created lush sonic landscapes as people filtered into the venue. Suuns brought up the energy in the crowd with a blistering 35-minute set of grungy electro fury. They drew people from all corners of the club to thrash about in the middle area, even rousing Besnard Lakes’ Jace Lasek to make cat-calls at the band from off stage, playfully coaxing them to “play some real songs.” And so, Suuns promptly finished their set in a frenzied noise jam.
The Besnard Lakes left the stage after doing their own soundcheck, only to return all together to wild applause. The band, now promoting their work on interactive film soundtracks, opened with the elegant sleeper Chicago Train, where Lasek displayed his trademark Brian Wilson falsetto in full form. They took no time to warm up for their show-stopping three part vocal harmonies, on which bassist Olga Goreas’ breathy rasp was as full and enchanting as on any recording. The band hit their mid-set stride with a back-to-back execution of fan favorites Albatross and Disaster.
A guitar cacophony erupted out of Albatross, and the Land of the Living Skies parts 1 and 2 served as the climactic end to the 2-hour set. The Besnard Lakes left the stage the same way they walked onto it: quietly, bashfully, and with a knowing smirk that suggests they wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Josh Edgar