The Most Serene Republic @ The Biltmore -- 09/26/09

Three down, one to go. Last night was Arts & Crafts band The Most Serene Republic (the first non-Broken Social Scene related band on the A&C label) at the Biltmore.

Grand Archive was out first, and they were Perfectly Acceptable Music. Kind of a generic Seattle/Washington indie sound, to the point where I was not at all surprised when I found out they are on Sub Pop.
They started out a with a few softer songs, but as the set went on, they punched things up a fair amount. The highlights of the set would have to be the cover of ELO's Telephone Line and when a couple Most Serene Republic'ers (Most Serene Republicans?) joined them on stage for backup violin & tambourine on one of their songs. It was a decent set, and by no means bad, just a little bland and forgettable. Especially after the performance TMSR gave.

Shortly after (oh, curfew shows), The Most Serene Republic filled the small-ish Biltmore stage with seven members. Kicking off the set with Bubble Reputation, the first track from the new album, ...And The Ever Expanding Universe, they played a pretty good mix of old and new, off all three of their full lengths. They managed to take their incredibly grandiose sound and not lose anything in the translation from album to live show. There were some small differences, but for the most part it was spot on. The show was a much more lively and upbeat affair, as they stuck to most of their higher energy songs, not playing any of the instrumentals. Which makes sense, cos those are all slower songs, but I still would have liked to hear a couple. Heavens to Purgatory (my fave off the new album, perhaps) and the awesomely powerful gang vocals on Present to Future End were probably the high points of the set. They played for about an hour or so, then were back for the obligatory encore with one song before the 11pm curfew.
Their stage presence was pretty great as well. High energy and dancing around -- lead singer Adrian Jewett had moves that were not completely unlike Elaine's -- and they had a very good rapport with the crowd, as he coined the new Vancouver nickname "The 'Couve'". The introducing of some songs in random, funny voices, was pretty amusing as well. For some reason, I didn't think they would be so... funny!

I wasn't sure what to expect from the night, as the albums can be somewhat dense, and sounded like it could have been difficult to pull off live. But I guess I just underestimated their awesomeness, as it was one hell of a show.