Music Monday – The Besnard Lakes.

(I am aware it’s not Monday, but Music Monday hasn’t happened in so long! It returns here…)

So. Usual set-up, Tom gets all excited about a gig, I say yes because I’m his gig buddy, am disappointed my gig research, and then am dubious about the supports – as, if the main act isn’t promising, surely the supports will be dire? – and we always miss the end of gigs. As we aren’t rich enough for a car, and have to rely on public transport.

The Lakes Of Besnard

Right, in all but one point. The supports were pretty good! This is potentially because I’m always expecting them to be awful, but then the surprise me by not only being able to play their instruments, but also playing good music. Good, in that I actually quite like it on first listen. This is rare, and if it comes from a support band, then they can’t be too bad can they?

This gig was on Sunday night (the 22nd) at the Fleece in Bristol, and after having spent a day wandering around the city, we were both pretty tired but still up for some musics 🙂 (Really, when are we not?) The Besnard Lakes were supported by Twin Falls (I can’t work out if this is supposed to be one word, or where they’re from) and Final Flash. The latter were from Canada, and I believe had supported said Lakes on the last few shows of this tour. I didn’t know th supports so had no research done for them, but both bands were rather enjoyable. Twin Falls played without a drummer – a point referenced in their set as “we usually have a drummer, but not today. It’s a nice chilled out set today”, and it was indeed. I would recommend they don’t use their drummer in future, as it gave their band a new sound that you don’t frequently hear: so many bands seem to assume a drummer is necessary. A beat and rhythm – fair, that is usually needed – but in this case, the lack of drummer gave their set a pleasantly relaxed ambience, and it was a very good contrast to what was going to happen later. The evening really did build into a crescendo of noise. It’s hard to describe what music Twin Falls were giving us, but they had four guitars (one acoustic, one bass and two electric) and a female singer. I’m not entirely sure if four guitars were necessary, but they made a good sound and their set went quickly – this is seriously rare with supports. Good work, I enjoyed!

Now – since there is nowhere to sit in the Fleece, we went to the slightly seedy pub next door and shared a pint as our funds were low. How cute. However, their was a juke box within this place, and it played ‘Give Up The Funk’ by Parliament – a tune and a half by anyone’s standards. This broke up the evening nicely, and we returned to the majority of Final Flash’s set. This band has a lot of energy it would seem, and gave it their all during

Final Flash

their music. It was a slightly disappointing to see that Jeff was the only one getting his groove on (as is frequently the case at Bristol gigs), as when a band is putting on such a performance, it feels like the audience should give the same back. But then there was much clapping and cheering post-song, so not all was lost. I enjoyed their music too – it was a little loud, but energetic, pretty melodic, and with good beats, so what’s not to like? I am very appreciative of music that is accessible on first listen, and this was some of it which makes it even better. Again, good work Final Flash, I liked it.

Now. The Besnard Lakes. Formed of Canadian husband and wife team Jace Lasek (a scary looking chap) and Olga Goreas, they are loud, noisy and monotonous. I have discovered one track of theirs that I like, entitled ‘And This Is What We Call Progress’, which we did not see them play, and my gig research on this one was spot on. No. I think it’s just not my kind of music. They played their music well and seem to have a theme going on, which all the songs fit to, but it is most definitely not my theme and I’m not hugely bothered we only saw 25 minutes of them. Unlike someone… My gig buddy was not pleased about having to catch the 11:10 train. We haven’t seen the end of many gigs in Bristol.

So what exactly did I not like about these Lakes? It seemed to me that, even though their was a four-piece band, and it was supposedly the project of a duo, that this was very much one man’s band. Scary-looking Lasek that is, and the times that no one else was playing and he was falsetto-ing over and over was almost cringe-worthy. The first song they played was good in that it started off quietly and build up to a pretty epic finish, but they somewhat self-indulgently didn’t stop playing and sunk straight into the next song (I had to confirm it was the next song with my gig buddy), and each time they started a new tune, my thoughts read “Isn’t this the same song..?” Unlike Twin Falls, The Besnard Lakes seemed to think the louder the better, and I think this is the first gig where I’ve actually come away with a headache. A real one. Not even Mogwai managed that! So I guess Besnard Lakes achieved something. No I would not see them again, but that doesn’t mean they’re terrible. Well they are to me, but I prefer more melodic, quieter, (better), less monotonous tunes. Tunes, I really like tunes.

In conclusion, it was all about the supports for me in this gig, and the fact we saw more of them than Besnard Lakes did not annoy or vex me. Having said that, I would take more Besnard Lakes any day to make my gig buddy smile a bit more 🙂


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