To be honest, I first started listening to Caspian just to have something to talk about with some dude I was into at the time. But after listening to a bunch of their singles, I quickly fell in love with their sound, and jumped at the first chance I had to watch them perform live. To my relief, I saw a tour date in Montreal for September 22nd at a tiny and intimate venue, Cafe Campus. They are currently on tour to promote the release of their latest album Dust and Disquiet with their buddies from Circle Takes the Square in tow. Caspian is mainly for fans of Sigur Rós and Tides of Man (specifically those who liked their latest instrumental masterpiece, Young and Courageous).
On to the opening act. Their second time in Montreal – and still never having tried poutine – Circle Takes the Square kicked off the night by playing a bunch of songs with beautiful instrumentals that were accompanied by angsty, harsh vocals. My favourite song of their set consisted of a long and beautiful ambient-instrumental intro, which eventually escalated into a fast paced and upbeat song entitled “Non-Objective Portrait of Karma.” During the entire show the crowd was rather comatose, since it was a weeknight show and I guess people were tired from working during the day. But there was a small number of headbangers and people dancing that broke the monotony of the crowd during this set.
After a short intermission, Caspian marched on stage in total darkness, dressed in black. They started off their set with “Darkfield,” a single off of their newly-released album, and ended their main set with “Arcs of Command,” yet another track off Dust and Disquiet. I think it’s also important to mention that the majority of the set was in partial darkness; whether it was intentional or not, I’m not sure, but it created this amazing atmosphere that forced you to focus as much as you could on the music being played, instead of on the ridiculously good looking men playing it.
The crowd was also rather special. With loud cheers and many encouraging yells between songs, the majority of the people there were dancing and nodding their heads back and forth to the beat of whichever song was playing. After the first encore, the crowd was extremely adamant about getting the most out of the show, chanting “Caspian” over and over, til they made their return back on the stage where they graced us with a performance of “Sycamore” off of their older album Tertia. (A DOUBLE encore?! Holy shit… I know!) It was absolutely the perfect song to end the night on, making the set list feel complete.
I also have to say that this show marks the first I’ve seen that didn’t include any outright singing of lyrics. Although I totally dug their music prior to seeing them live, I was hella skeptical. But, the sheer complexity of the instrumentals totally worked in their favour, as there were no vocals or lyrics in any of their songs. The entire set was extremely tight and totally flawless. Many times throughout the set, I caught myself holding back tears from the sheer beauty of their music. Caspian’s music is way more impactful live and conveys emotion much more strongly through their live performances.
Written and Photographed by Melissa Martella
*edited by Kate Erickson