Friday, January 14, 2011

The Besnard Lakes More Than Deliver

Review: The Besnard Lakes @ Lincoln Hall, 1/13


There are some shows you just don't want to end. The Besnard Lakes last night at Lincoln Hall was of those performances. Their ethereal albums are hypnotizing enough, but live everything is bigger, louder and more wicked. To look at the husband and wife team of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, you may expect flower power folk; instead you get a wallop of psych rock with modern electric touches.

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The Besnard Lakes' Lasek and Goreas (Photos by Kirstie Shanley)

Last summer the Montreal pair opened Millennium Park's Downtown Sound series at the open air Pritzker Pavilion. It seemed the most fitting way to hear the group, under the night's sky, but last night being up close and personal was that much more powerful — a different but equally compelling feeling. Their set got underway almost a half hour earlier than their scheduled 11 o'clock time since opening girl-group Frankie Rose & the Outs played for only 20 minutes. As the room filled up, the band hit full stride by "Land of the Living Skies". It was at times a transcendent experience, juxtaposed by the casual banter and stories from the band (including one about being compared to David Koresh!). We got plenty of Lasek's mighty falsetto on songs like "Chicago Train" and "This Is What We Call Progress", and he brought out a captivating white 12 string electric guitar for "Albatross", on which wife Goreas takes the lead on vocals. The contrasting sweetness of "Albatross" made the following song, "Like The Ocean", all the more haunting.

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The Besnard Lakes' Olga Goreas (Photos by Kirstie Shanley)

They ended the evening with a bang, encoring two lesser known cuts. The closing one, "Four Long Lines" being what Lasek called a "rarity", appeared on the 12" "Albatross" single released in anticipation of The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night in early 2010. (I did some mad research for that last tidbit.)

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The Besnard Lakes' Jace Lasek (Photos by Kirstie Shanley)

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