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Young Galaxy, The Besnard Lakes

15-Oct-2007 01:36 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Young Galaxy
The Horseshoe in Toronto, Ontario
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
Young Galaxy
The Besnard Lakes
October 12, 2007
Full Photo Set (20 photos)

Having both Young Galaxy and The Besnard Lakes playing at the same show is like getting drunk and laid on the same night, and without even trying. For my hungry readers, it's like having a hot dog and hamburger all in the same bun. Or for my young readers, it's like getting to play Zelda and Tony Hawk on your Wii at the same time. Or, or... never mind, I suck at this game. But it was a great combination, which explains why The Horseshoe was filled to capacity that night. I saw The Besnard Lakes perform two songs at the Polaris Music Prize ceremony, and knew that I wanted to see them again. And I discovered Young Galaxy when they opened for The Frames, and since then I've become a bit of an addict of their music.

Young Galaxy

After seeing Young Galaxy open for The Frames, I purchased their CD and found that the two songs Swing Your Heartache and Lazy Religion kept bringing me back to listen to the album again and again. And like all good albums, the other songs grew on me immensely, which is why I singled it out for Pete's Pick back in July. The band is essentially a duo made up of Stephen Ramsay (previously a touring guitarist for Stars) and Catherine McCandless, along with a team of other regular musicians.

Young Galaxy
Young Galaxy
Young Galaxy

At the beginning of the set, Stephen announced that he had invested in a smoke machine, so their nine-song set was visually emphasized with the occasional flow of fresh smoke, creating an ethereal atmosphere that matches their style and sound. Before playing Outside The City, he mentioned that although we may be familiar with that song from hearing it on 102.1, we are the only city in which it is in rotation. He quickly added a thank-you to Dave Bookman for that. There were two new songs in the set, plus one called Golden Coin that is only available on the Swing Your Heartache EP. They ended the set with the easily likable and brilliant Swing Your Heartache, and although the rendition seemed to start out a little rough, it all came together and left the crowd happy.

Young Galaxy
Young Galaxy
Young Galaxy

Each year I discover a handful of bands that I wish everyone would listen to - bands that I think deserve more recognition that they currently have - and this is one of them. Their album is excellent, with its spacey hooks, expansive melodies, and calculated instrumentation. Their live show adds some fullness to the sound. It's definitely worth buying the album and getting out to see them play. They are nominated for a CASBY award, which will take place on Oct 24th. They're playing in Eastern Canada near the end of October, and over in Europe for the beginning of December. I'm not sure when they'll be back in Toronto, but if I hear anything, I'll let you know.

Info: Young Galaxy | Connect: MySpace

The Besnard Lakes

After hearing all sorts of good reports about The Besnard Lakes' stage show, I purchased their album The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse from eMusic.com and gave it a full listen. On the first pass, it has its moments such as the immediately catchy riff of Devastation, but the other songs are a little more challenging. They play indie-rock with a spacey feel, and their 70's rock influence means that many of their songs are built up through deliberate guitar work. It's a good album, but I've only run through it a few times so far.

The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes

Not too long after I purchased their CD, I got to see them perform at the Polaris Music Prize ceremony, as mentioned. Even though it was just a two-song set, it became clear why people were telling me I had to get out and see them. (Oh, and not only did they perform at the Polaris Music Prize ceremony, but they were also nominated for the award).

The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes

Their style of rock is conducive to good speakers and the kind of volume that you get out at the venues. The driving build-ups, gut-vibrating bass, big drumming, and the searing guitar all work together to take you on quite the trip. The show at The Horseshoe was visually enhanced with the same smoke machine that was used by Young Galaxy, encasing the band members each time the machine let out a cloud of smoke. They played a very decent length and powerful set, with the volume turned right up. It seems the Polaris Music Prize nomination brought some well deserved attention to this band. I'm sure they'll be back in Toronto soon. It would be excellent to see these two bands paired again... not sure if that will happen, but we can hope.

Info: The Besnard Lakes | Connect: MySpace

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Young Galaxy, The Besnard Lakes
Authored by: Anonymous on 15-Oct-2007 02:33 PM
I would have loved to be there... I just got turned on to The Besnard Lakes... I checked them out in the first place because I lived quite close to Besnard Lake as a kid.

Those are amazing photos, as usual, Pete! The colours are so amazing...

J