Venue: Petit Campus
Opening bands: Musk Ox, Taurus
I don't have much time because of my job, so I won't really elaborate, but here's a quick review of the concert I saw yesterday.
When I climbed the stairs to the venue, I heard some beautiful classical music that would have its place on a good movie soundtrack. At first, I thought it was an intro playing from the PA, but when I got in, I realized it actually was Musk Ox. The last time I had seen Musk Ox (on the previous Agalloch north american tour), it was only founding member NathanaŽl Larochette playing his classical guitar. However, this time he had brought two incredible musicians: a cellist and a violinist. It sounded like a whole new band. They played three pretty long tracks from their upcoming sophomore album, taking us on a beautiful dreamy trip across imaginary landscapes; only taking some pauses to speak to the crowd in french.
The only inconvenience was the low volume of the music. It could not cover up the careless, disrespectful people that kept talking throughout their set.
The next band was Taurus. I had never checked them out before the show and I had no idea what to expect. Lets say I was given a hell of a surprise! They started their performance by playing wierd movie clips, that kept on going for the whole set, thus creating a creepy atmosphere. Adding to the ambiance, strange looped droning sounds were played. Then, the all female duo took the stage and started their first song after what a guess was a sample from a movie. They played an unique brand of loud sludge, with low dissonant guitars (almost drones), atonal reverb-drowned vocals and chaotic drumming. They never spoke to the crowd, only using samples as transitions between the songs. Speaking of the songs, they weren't that good or well written, but if I let myself be submerged by the muddy guitar drones and I totally enjoyed their performance.
Then came the moment I was waiting for: the greatest band in the world hit the stage for the second time in Montreal. As always, they had a backdrop with their logo in the back, and animal bones and incense sticks on the front. They started with a novel instrumental intro. It had a kind of post-rock feel and it was fucking wonderful. Then, they bursted into "Limbs". Everything was perfect: the band had a lot of energy, John's vocals were spot on, the sound mix was excellent and the lightings were spectacular. A bit later into the set, they performed one of the highlights of their show: the new EP, Faustian Echoes
in its entirety. The rage contained in the song was multiplied in its live rendition, partly because of the drums, which were massively pounding. Other highlights were their cover of Sol Invictus's "Kneel to the Cross", that was extremely fun to sing along to, and "In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion", that is probably my favourite song of theirs. They had played last year on the Marrow of the Spirit
tour, but they had sped up and blackened my favourite part of the song (the part with the guitar effects and the "I went down to a river..." verse). This time, not only they had brought NathanaŽl from Musk Ox on stage to play with them, but they played the bridge in its original slow, touching way. Fuck, I almost cried. Before the song, they had problems with Don Anderson's guitar, and I feared it would jeopardize the performance, but they managed to fix it (maybe to the price of one song in the set). I was a bit disappointed they didn't play "Dead Winter Days" and especially "As Embers Dress the Sky", but I had heard them recently at MDF (though, the sound there wasn't good enough and I would have liked to hear them with the Petit Campus sound). Anyway, they gave what could be the best musical performance I've witnessed so far. They were much better than on their last tour in my opinion.
After they finished playing, I couldn't resist overspending and I got myself the new Faustian Echoes
EP, plus Whitedivisiongrey
(both The White
and The Grey
EPs in a pretty cool package with plenty of nature photos) and The Demonstration Archive 1996-1998
(containing the From Which of this Oak
demo, the original version of the Of Stone, Wind and Pillor
EP, and the 1998 pre-Pale Folklore
Ghosts of the Midwinter Fires
Our Fortress Is Burning... I
Our Fortress is Burning... II: Bloodbirds
Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor
Hallways of Enchanted Ebony
I Am the Wooden Doors
You Were But a Ghost in My Arms
In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion (with NathanaŽl Larochette)
Kneel to the Cross (Sol Invictus cover)