Openers Elephant Stone combined elements of psychedelic rock with traditional Indian musical instruments making for a very unique and interesting sound that is nearly unclassifiable. Lead singer Rishi Dhir effortlessly switched between playing bass guitar and sitting down to play sitar, all the while the rest of the band held down tight and nimble grooves. The band mentioned that they had played at the Fine Line (“First Line?! something like that”) in April, while on tour opening for The Black Angels, and complimented the Twin Cities on having numerous really great venues.
Headliners, The Besnard Lakes are no stranger to the Twin Cities either, having developed a small but very loyal following since their sophomore album ‘The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse‘ in 2007, and even experienced some decent airplay on The Current with the soaring anthem ‘Albatross’ off their third release ‘The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night‘. Their fourth and most recent effort ‘Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO‘ is a bit more sparse and less epic album than the rest of their catalog, but it’s still very compelling in it’s own right. After a lengthy 15 minute “intro” as lead singer/guitarist Jace Lasek dealt with some technical issues, the band tore into their 55 minute main set, which mostly consisted of songs from their most recent 2 efforts. Not surprisingly, Olga Goreas’ stunning vocals on ‘Albatross’ earned the band the loudest crowd response of the night. Lasek stated that due to the fire code, they were unable to use their trademark fog machines, but he thanked local openers Chatham Rise for allowing them to use their projector for the show. He told the story of how they put together visuals specifically just for this tour, only to have their new (and expensive) projector fall off of it’s tripod when they were testing it out and end up in pieces. Lasek said that his mom even stitched together the 3 white bedsheets that they were using as a screen, DIY indeed.
The 1/3 full crowd thinned out even more after the end of their main set, which came shortly after midnight, but those that stayed were treated to two VERY long and extended tunes that together lasted over a half hour. I have to admit that as great as they sounded, my patience wore a bit thin towards the end, but it seemed like I was very much in the minority based on the cheers at the end of the night.