Thursday 24 November 2011

The Besnard Lakes, Suuns at Scala 22 November 2011

The Besnard Lakes (photo: Patrick Kelly)

There’s a sparse crowd in the Scala as Suuns take to the stage.

Whilst this would obviously be a disappointment to the band, it feels eerily appropriate to their music. Suuns are all about the space between notes, the crackle of electricity that buzzes through the ether after an instrument is sounded.

They start off with an upbeat, keyboard heavy number that pounds its way down the autobahn. The crowd, finding the grove, nod their heads in unison.

Vocals are often indistinct and electronically distorted, just another component in a maelstrom of sound. ‘Songs’ are nebulous concepts – a beat starts here, a guitar is struck there, loud and quiet, fast and slow.

If I have any criticism of the band at all, it is that on occasion it can seem as though they have got a little too caught up in an interesting sound effect rather than a coherent tune, but mostly this is majestic, epic stuff.

After watching the first couple of numbers from headliners the Besnard Lakes, I realise that I am here under a misapprehension. I had somehow got it into my head that they were a different act entirely (as it turns out, David Vandervelde). I’m glad to be wrong.

Besnard Lakes play a slow, woozy, fuzzed up version of classic US rock. It’s the Mamas and Papas on half speed, or Urge Overkill on opiates. Although of course Urge Overkill WERE on opiates at the time.

Centre stage is Jace Lacek, dressed up to the nines in leather jacket, huge sunglasses and mullet hair cut. Looking at him, I get flashbacks to Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople.

Lacek has an unexpectedly powerful falsetto voice, a pure keening sound that slices through the often monstrously heavy sludgy sound.

Equally impressive is singer and bassist Olga Goreas, effortlessly one of the coolest women in rock. She’s a powerful presence and clearly the subject of much fan boy love – which she accepts with good humour.

It may be a small crowd, but it is a warm and welcoming one and there is a great rapport between stage and audience, with banter back and forth. We are invited to “heckle the fuck” out of the band, but what follows is basically conversation rather than confrontation.

I really enjoy the band and would be happy to see them again. Ironically, the band have an album called “The Besnard Lakes are The Dark Horse” and for me, tonight, they were.

Besnard Lakes - Albatross (Live) from Big Ass Lens on Vimeo.

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