Spencer Krug @ The Lido -- 05/02/19

One of my favourite shows in 2016 was a super intimate show from Moonface at a bar two blocks from my house, The Lido. Jump ahead 3 years, after the release of his latest album -- and now just going under his own name -- Spencer Krug returned to The Lido to kick off his tour.

Accompanying him was Light Conductor, the duo of Jace Lasek (Besnard Lakes) and Stephen Ramsay (Young Galaxy) joined by a third member, whose name I didn't catch -- in fact they didn't say anything, up to and including the name of their band, until a single "thanks" at the very end.
Their moody synths were very fitting with the psychedelic background projections The Lido usually has, as their instrumental washed over the growing crowd. Almost entirely instrumental, with very few breaks between songs and picking up intensity as they went. Just a I thought the set was going to go on too long for their type of instrumental, they shifted gears and, with a few lights that changed exactly on the beat, pulled out some guitars and for a song with all three chiming in on vocals.
It seemed the perfect music to listen to through headphones, close your eyes, and just drift off into space (how altered your state is while doing this is up to you).

Not long after, Spencer Krug took a seat behind the piano and launched into a new song (that you can find on his Patreon) called "Fading Graffiti". From there he played a range from brand new ones, to the latest Moonface album, to old favourites, and even a few other treats like the Sunset Rubdown song "Us Ones In Between".
His distinct voice and gorgeous piano transfixed the crowd packed in the back of The Lido, with highlights including a stripped down version of “Yesterday's Fire”, one of the songs from his collaboration with Siinai; the intense one-two combo of “Barbarian” and “Barbarian II”; the haunting “City Wrecker”, and the absolutely heartbreaking "Julia With Blue Jeans On", one of my favourites, which ended the main set.
But he was drawn back out by the crowd, mentioned that his pal and collaborator Dan Bejar was in the crowd somewhere* and dedicated the Swan Lake song "All Fires" to him to end off the night.
*(just before this, I had noticed he was standing right next to me and was trying to keep my cool)

Unfortunately, as much as I like The Lido, it has a bit of a dark side as a music venue. Since it is still very much a small(ish) bar, and the shows there are usually free, you have the section in the back packed with people at attention, but then also... the rest of the bar. Throughout the set you could hear chattering from the other side of room, as well as the usual bar sounds of glasses clinking and cash being thrown around. To the point where Krug even mentioned and joked about it, and went to far as to apologise.

BUT, with all that aside, it was still a great show. It was intimate and beautiful, and I wouldn’t hesitate to see him there (or anywhere, really) again.

Fading Graffiti
Yesterday's Fire
Barbarian II
River River
The Cave
Us Ones In Between
[New Song]
Minotaur Forgiving Knossos
Running In Place With Everyone
City Wrecker
Julia With Blue Jeans On
All Fires

Moonface & Siinai @ Fortune -- 06/04/17

You know how you have those few bands that just seem to be "cursed"? By which I mean, you just always seem to miss out when it comes to seeing them live. I am a fan of Spencer Krug in all incarnations, but have always had bad luck seeing his live shows. I saw Sunset Rubdown back in '09, but didn't see him again until last year's solo piano Moonface show at the Lido
Which is just a long way of saying the anticipation was high to see not only Moonface, but Siinai along with him as well. Having just released their second collaborative album, My Best Human Face, it was the first time in Canada for Finnish Siinai as they came to Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver. 

Opening the night was Krug's Wolf Parade compatriot Dante Decaro, but unfortunately I got there just at the tail end of this set. He was on stage with a guitar, joined by a keyboardist, playing some slow burning songs. 

It wasn't long after that Moonface and Siinai took to a dimly lit stage, the five members shrouded in shadows, only occasionally lit by passing spotlights in soft blues and yellows, adding to the mood of the music. 
Starting off with "Quickfire, I Tried", Spencer Krug's distinct vocals filling the room, before kicking into the frantic "Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips". They played from both collaborative albums, including explosive songs like "I'm Not The Phoenix Yet" and the simmering intensity of "They Call Themselves Old Punks", to the more mellow "The Nightclub Artiste".
Near the end of the set a girl from the crowd shouted "Play Yesterday's Fire!" and Krug quickly replied "you got it" and without hesitation or missing a beat, the band immediately launched into the song. It was either ridiculously fortuitous timing, or the quickest & best request fulfilment I've ever seen. (It was probably the former, but I like to think the latter) . 
After that, he fielded another request for "City Wrecker", the haunting song finishing off the main set. But of course, they were back -- not without Krug pointing out what an absurd tradition the whole encore thing is -- with one last "slow and loud" song, "Lay Your Cheek On Down" finishing the night. 

Spencer Krug is great at pouring emotion into his songs, and Siinai more than kept up with him, keeping the audience rapt the entire time. Krug even pointing out how 'quiet' the crowd was, but not necessarily in a bad way. There was still wild applause and cheering between songs, but little to no chit chat, which is always nice, meaning the bad had the room's full attention. And I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Sunday evening. 

Quickfire, I Tried
Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips. 
The Nightclub Artiste
I'm Not The Phoenix Yet
Faraway Lightning
Prairie Boy
They Call Themselves Old Punks
Ugly Flower Pretty Vase
Yesterday's Fire. 
City Wrecker
Lay Your Cheek On Down