It's been a few years since Plants and Animals last played a show in Vancouver, but with a new album under their belts, the Montreal trio hit the road with a stop at the Imperial. And I was doubly excited, because not only was Plants and Animals back, but they brought with them another favourite of mine, Winnipeg's Royal Canoe.
It's always nice to see Royal Canoe play on a stage that can actually fit all six members and their mountains of gear, and they spread out nicely on the Imperial stage. With a new album coming out this fall, the band played a split of new and old. There was some singing along to the introspective "Exodus of the Year" and the bombastic "Bathtubs", which is one of my favourites. The new tunes they played sounded like a natural extension of their sound, a dense sonic wall of their unique electronic indie pop. One of the new songs culminated with a brain-melting instrumental, and another, which closed out their set, was a slow, simmering R&B jam that erupted into a swirl of synth and keys. It was perhaps my favourite of the set, and made me eagerly anticipate the new material.
During their set, Royal Canoe mentioned that Plants & Animals had a rough time getting to Vancouver, which the band themselves later elaborated on, admitting they almost didn't make it after having to abandon their van in Kelowna. Which may have been part of the reason there seemed to be a bit of a delay in the start of their set.
But they got everything together and launched right into "No Worries Gonna Find Us", perhaps a little cathartically. From there, the set mostly featured songs from Waltzed In From The Rumbling, and while I think it took them a song or two to kind of get in the groove, the set was highlighted by songs like the slightly darker and moody "All The Time" and "Flowers", which had the crowd singing along in hushed tones as the song came to rest.
There were only a few older songs sprinkled the set; the soaring "Lightshow", the sprawling (and aptly named) "Faerie Dance", and "Bye Bye Bye", which got a huge reaction, and saw Nicolas Basque rock out on the autoharp like few can.
They ended the set with one of my favourites off the new album "Stay", and newest addition to the touring band Adele Trottier-Rivard joining Warren Spicer on vocals. And of course, they were back out for a couple more. First the raucous "Feedback in the Field" and finishing off the night with "Je voulais te dire", a gorgeous seven minute songs full of musical twists and turns.
Both of these bands I would count among my favourites, especially to see live, and the pairing did not let me down. It was a great show, highlighting some of the most interesting musicians the country has to offer.
No Worries Gonna Find Us,
We Were One,
All of the Time,
So Many Nights,
Bye Bye Bye,
Feedback in the Field,
Je voulais te dire.