Young Galaxy @ Electric Owl -- 09/26/13

Three years. That's how long it had been since I last saw Montreal's Young Galaxy perform live. And even then, it was an all-too-short opening slot for the mighty Stars. With the release of their recent Polaris Prize shortlisted Ultramarine their tour saw them came by the Electric Owl in Vancouver, and I knew I was not going to be able to miss it.

I got to there part way through the opener, Human Human. It was the first time in Vancouver for the Montreal band, and they seemed intent on making an impression. In matching jackets with RUN emblazoned on the back, they wore their 80s influence on their sleeves with a synth rock sound and had a great energy to them. The fun they were clearly having on stage definitely bled into the crowd.
The two standout songs were "Control" and the last song of the set, which I didn't catch the name of. I would definitely be interested in catching them again next time they roll through town.

It wasn't long after that Young Galaxy hit the stage, with a projection screen behind them and each member dressed in all black pants and shirts, with suspenders and ties. "Blown Minded" off the Shapeshifting album started off the set that drew from their last three albums -- though nothing from their self-titled debut, which had a bit of a different sound to it --and after the band wrestled with some sound problems early on, it was apparent that they were a force of nature. All five members had an great stage presence; Stephen Ramsey bantered and joking around a little between songs, but it was lead singer Catherine McCandless that all eyes were on. She took command of the stage, stalking back and forth & occasionally crouching down at the front, and with a great intensity her incredibly emotive voice captured the crowd.
The set was full of their dreamy and spacey synthpop songs, but also had a nice diversity. Songs ranged from the thumping of the driving, danceable beat of "Pretty Boy" to the gorgeous "Sleepwalk With Me". Other highlights included the fast paced "Youth Is Wasted on the Young", and "Privileged Poor" with its hypnotic instrumental intro, and one point where Catherine backed off and yelled into the mic, giving it almost a haunting quality.
They ended the set with the huge and showstopping "We Have Everything", and after a great crowd reaction, were back out for one more song; an amazing cover of Erasure's classic "A Little Respect".

The first time I saw Young Galaxy was six years ago at a smoke-filled Media Club. I enjoyed that show and every time I've seen them since, they have gotten exponentially better. Each time leaves me in awe.
I just hope it's not another three years before next time.

Blown Minded, Peripheral Visionaries, Pretty Boy, In Fire, Out the Gate Backwards, Sleepwalk With Me, Privileged Poor, Youth Is Wasted on the Young, Hard To Tell, Cover Your Tracks, Fall For You, New Summer, We Have Everything.
(encore) A Little Respect [Erasure cover]