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

Brasstronaut @ The Lido -- 08/20/15

Sometimes you know exactly what you're going to do for an evening. And then sometimes, a band you haven't seen live in over three years announces a "secret show" at a bar five minutes from your front door.
The latter is what happened last night when earlier in the day, Brasstronaut announced a small, free show at The Lido, which is a place that I had only been to as a drinking establishment; I had not yet been to see one of their free shows and was eager to. 

Since their last album, Mean Sun in 2012, the band had scattered across the country (and even the continent) and did a little bit of work on solo projects or with other bands. But in that time, they were also working on a new album, and they all happened to be in Vancouver this week, they wanted to test out some of that material for a small audience of friends and supporters. 

Lead singer & keyboardist Edo Van Breemen joked it was the second (and last) show of their "2015 World Tour" as the six-piece band packed the tiny stage, in front of a screen showing distorted versions of themselves on stage. They starting off the set with the aptly named "Bounce", which builds to a rhythmic thumping, as Edo's haunting vocals (which were a little too low for parts of the set) weaved around the intense, layered sound that filled the small bar. They played mostly from the Mean Sun album, with other highlights included the punchy "Falklands" featuring some incredible drumming by Brennan Saul, and the epic, winding "Mixtapes". 

photo by kirk hamilton

Aside from the old, they teased their new album out in January, and sprinkled a few new songs throughout the set; one moody and introspective song written about a traffic jam in Paris; another quite the opposite, a really sexy tune with a bit of an R&B influence that got all the drunk girls up to the stage to do that drunk girl dance (you know the one). 

They went back to their first EP to close the set with "Old World Lies", as Sam Davidson & Bryan Davies -- on clarinet & trumpet respectively -- stood at the back of the room when they came in part way through the song, leading to a beautiful ending. 
But of course, the crowd was eager for more and since there wasn't really anywhere to go, the band just kinda stood next to the stage before returning for one last song, leaving the night on a more energetic note with the intense and heartbreaking "Slow Knots", building to a frantic finale. 

As I mentioned above, it had been way too long since the last time I had seen Brasstronaut perform live, and it was such a treat to be able to see them in such an intimate venue. The show got be excited for the new album, and I already can't wait to see them again.