When a studio-powered band like Montreal psychedelic shoegazers Besnard Lakes perform live, there's concern that removing the layers of production will rob the music of its magic or the band won't have the charisma to sell it onstage.
When frontman Jace Lasek, with his gangly frame and unruly shock of hair, first appeared at last night's Beachland Ballroom show and let out a piercing, distinct falsetto, for a brief second we wondered if we stumbled into an SNL sketch about awful prog-rockers.
But as soon as the band kicked into the atmospheric "Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent" from their latest album, The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night, it was clear that Lasek's voice works perfectly within the haunting, dynamic, and powerful music he and his bandmates create together onstage.
Lasek alternated between keyboards and guitar, as he and the rest of the band brought the nuances of their recorded material to life in terrific, slightly more elemental versions. Drummer Kevin Laing particularly shined, driving the show forward with strong, tasteful, and tom-heavy drumming.
Funniest moment: A fan called out for a song that was already played, which brought a bemused "We already played that!" from Lasek and a good-natured "busted!" chant from the rest of the audience. —Matthew Wilkening