It's been six years since married couple Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland merged their respective solo careers to form Whitehorse, and it's been one heck of a ride. Last month they released their fourth full length album Panther in the Dollhouse, and finished off their tour in Vancouver for a show at the Vogue Theatre.
As a rocked-out version of the Pink Panther theme played, Whitehorse took the stage. Each time I had seen them before, it was just Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland looping everything live, but this time they were joined by a full band.
Standing in front of a backdrop that looked like a starry sky, lights twinkling, they got right into it with "Baby What's Wrong" and rocked through a few songs before thanking everyone for being there, and talking about the new album. As you would expect, the couple has amazing on-stage chemistry, playing off each other, and at a few points in the set sharing a single mic for tunes like "Epitaph In Tongues" as the band took a rest.
The set ranging from high energy songs like the vitriolic "Boys Like You" (dedicated to a certain Mr. Weinstein in the news lately), the badass "Devil's Got A Gun", and "Pink Kimono" to moodier songs, like "Achilles' Desire", the gorgeous "Mismatched Eyes", and "Die Alone" which showcased Melissa's amazing vocals.
Aside from the starry background, the stage had giant lights beaming from behind them, sometimes spotlighting individuals playing, other times fitting the mood, like when the stage was bathed in green for "Emerald Isle". Great lighting can really make a show pop, and I think it helped make it that much more memorable.
After over an hour, they drew to a close with the anthemic "Downtown" including individual solos as they introduced the band (thanking their tour crew as well) before coming back out for a well-deserved encore, finishing with a cover of "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which they recently played in front of Neil Young himself at a hall of fame ceremony.
I've said it before on the blog, I absolutely love watching the spontaneous energy of loopers performing live, and I was momentarily disappointed when I saw a full band come out... but that didn't last long, as the show was incredibly tight, and they had just about the entire crowd rapt for the entire time.
Baby What's Wrong
Manitoba Death Star
Boys Like You
Epitaph In Tongues
Mismatched Eyes (Boat Song)
Devil's Got A Gun
Nadine [Chuck Berry cover]
Kicking Down Your Door
Tame as the Wild Ones
Ohio [Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young cover]