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Besnard Lakes live at the Islington Assembly Hall
I discovered Montreal band The Besnard Lakes a few years via Racliffe and Maconies’ afternoon show on BBC Radio 6. Their music clicked with me instantly, and have become one of my favourite bands. This week I finally got a chance to see them live in London, and it was truly incredible. I felt awkward for them though, as the venue wasn’t exactly at capacity, but hopefully by the next time they tour more people will have come to discover their music.
The big advantage was that it was easy to get right down the front, and make the most of the iPhone camera to get the shot above. Second from left is Adam Franklin from local Oxford band Swervedriver – one of the many special guests that night, which also included a three-piece string section.
I’m planning a Troika on The Besnard Lakes soon, to serve as an introduction…
Leigh and I don’t get out to gigs as much as we used to. Apart from the rigmarole (and cost) of finding babysitters, Oxford, with the exception of the Zodiac in Cowley Road, isn’t gig central. There’s a thriving local scene for sure, out of which bands like Ride, Supergrass and Radiohead all came, but you really have to go London to see the majority of acts. Also, when you do manage to get out, there’s a heightened pressure to have a really good time – you don’t want to go through all that hassle and cost, just to see a bad movie do you?
So, giggling like teenagers let out for the night, we went to see Rufus Wainwright play at the New Theatre Oxford. No worries about a wasted night out, Rufus was engaging, compelling and moving. Somehow, he manages to keep going for hours, with his voice still as powerful at the 3rd encore as it was when he started. And what a voice.
The performance came to a real peak during ‘Oh what a world’ when the band strips down to lingerie or codpieces and don witches’ hats and cloaks. Some members looked more comfortable with this than others though. The contrast between Rufus (who also had a shiny pair of bright red high heels) and the blonde backing singer was very distinct.
I ‘really enjoyed’ listening to Rufus before – now I would count myself as a fan. Huzzah!