The Besnard Lakes could play Devastation for an hour, and I’d be happy. For a second, it looked like they might on Thursday night. It was only the second song in the set, but with the fog machine blasting and feedback blaring, an already epic song was bubbling over in effects and distortion.
Ah, I suppose it had to end sometime. But Devastation, as I’ve noted before, is a monster, a runaway train, a cannonball, a raging bull, King Kong. You get the picture. The Besnards didn’t play it when they came through Phoenix in March, so it was mandatory they do it this time. I just didn’t expect it so early in the set. The song is so grand, I’d just assume it’s tailor made as a closer; that that task fell to And You Lied to Me, which ended in a cacophony of feedback, capped by Olga Goreas’ solo display of manipulated bass distortion/buzz/fuzz.
Everything about Besnard’s sound swirls and envelops. Three guitars – all sprawling and whammy bar-ed up – have me thinking that earplugs will be a wise investment for my next show. Drummer Kevin Laing actually apologized afterward, saying it was the worst he’s played. With a brick wall behind him and a wall of sound in front him, he said he couldn’t hear a thing. Their timing might have been a little disrupted during Disaster, but nobody would have been the wiser.
We were fortunate enough to be treated to a live rendering of the recently released 12″ single Casino Nanaimo (get it at eMusic), the first time the band has played it live, according to frontman Jace Lasek, who by the way, sorta looks like a cross between John Lennon and the Greatest American Hero. “As Frank Zappa said,” Lasek said, jokingly, “this song is hard to play.”
But if I’ve learned anything from the Besnard Lakes, it’s this: I want a fog machine. When I walk into work, boom!, fog. When I come home, roll the fog. Finish dinner? Fog. When the Besnard Lakes use it (pedal-activated, by the way), it doesn’t seem ironic or kitschy or jokey. It’s just like: We are about to play a huge eight-minute song with effects and distortion and loud guitars and we’re also going to blast fog all over this tiny space … that’s how we roll. I love it.
Anyway, more Canadians await Friday: We are driving to Tucson to see the New Pornographers, who reportedly are touring with Neko Case and Dan Bejar.
The Besnard Lakes | Devastation