The beauty of live shows is that it gives you the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. We all have our “safe” bands or artist to whom we usually turn when we want to listen to music. But taking the time to go out and see a band you don’t know, is a different experience. Although I have to force my lazy ass out of my home when I go out, I’m always glad when I do, especially when I end up at a show like the one I witnessed at La Sala Rosa featuring Wintersleep with Caveboy and Victory Chimes.
The first band of the night, Victory Chimes, set the tone with their experimental sound. There was so much gear on stage, more than I’ve ever seen. I’ve been to my fair share of psych-rock shows, and even they didn’t have as much gear. I mean, singer Jeff Louch had two musical keyboards at his disposal plus a lot of pedals. Their songs were very melodic, some fast and others slow, but all of them had a soothing feel to them. All band members were proficient with their instruments and it showed a lot in the performance. The overall sound was clean and well balanced, with every effect and sound resonating in the room. From Montreal, this four-piece was glad to be on stage and it showed. They played with a smile, and by the end of their set everyone was warmed up and ready for the other bands.
Caveboy came out like punks, but played like rock stars. They took over the room with their infectious energy and their incredible mix of 80’s pop, dance music, and alternative rock. Michelle Bensimon on vocals and lead guitar has some impressive singing pipes. If you weren’t immediately in awe of her because of her energy, she would definitely have gotten you with her high yet controlled vocals. Isabelle Banos and Lana Cooney provided the harmonies and played bass and drums respectively. Their song “Landslide” got people dancing with its disco feel, followed by “Raconteur” and its memorable keyboard hook. Although I’m not much of a dancer, even I was having trouble staying in place by the halfway point. The crowd seemed totally in love with these ladies, and with reason. They moved on stage as if they had been born there and never wanted to leave. Also from Montreal, they made it clear how proud they were to call our fine city their home, which the crowd responded positively to. Everything about their performance was positive and none of them let us down for a moment. For their final song, they did a Whitney Houston cover and played “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Michelle Bensimon proved that she still had a lot of energy and danced like there was no tomorrow, all the while singing and hitting every note.
The last act of the night was Wintersleep. By then, the room had completely filled up, with new people arriving to see them play. I was just as unfamiliar with these guys as I was with the two other acts. I had no expectations when they started, but I was still impressed. Although the music isn’t energetic or “big” enough for my tastes, I was able to appreciate the musicianship of these guys. With three guitars on stage for some songs and a musical keyboard for others, there was a wide variety of sounds assaulting my brain. From Halifax, Nova Scotia, Wintersleep brought a very warm and summer-like vibe with their music. Like the other bands that played that night, Wintersleep had a very clean sound, with each instrument tuned to perfection and each effect complementing the next. They started off with “Surrender” from their latest record In The Land Of as well as other new songs like “Spirit” and “Forest Fire.” Each song, though keeping with the same vibe, had something different to offer. A change of guitars was made for every song and members would often exchange instruments, like on their last song where Tim D’eon exchanged his guitar for John Samuel’s keys.
Paul Murphy led the band with his soothing vocals, switching from electric guitar to acoustic depending on the song. The rhythm section composed of Chris Bell on bass and Loel Campbell on drums kept the rhythm going, which made things more grounded. Their music was extremely layered, with each musician adding an effect or a different riff. Having a strong bassist and drummer combo made the music sound extremely professional.
La Sala Rosa was like a furnace by the end of the night. The crowd had danced their hearts out and were lining up to buy merchandise. I took that as a good sign. Once again, I saluted myself for not being a lazy bum and going out to enjoy my night. I saw some dedicated performances and learned about some new bands.
Written by Johnathan Robinson
Photography by Thomas Gentil
*edited by Kate Erickson