Monday gigs are always a bit of a pain.
Groggy and broken (both physically and financially) enthusiasm and motivation often lack in even the most naturally high-spirited gig-goer. News that The Besnard Lakes missed their boat and would arrive a few hours late was never going to help matters.
The Monday blues were out in force as approximately 30 people populated Cyprus Avenue. Jace, Olga, Kevin and
Richard sullenly arrived on stage with barely a cough from the unimpressed crowd. Sixty seconds later everyone was singing Happy Birthday in "harmony" aimed at the birthday boy himself, Jace Lasek, guitarist, lead singer and leader of The Besnard Lakes. His wife (eventually to be bassist, vocalist and flautist) Olga Goreas opened the show with fabulous conducting abilities injecting a small, miserable crowd with an instant shot of positivity simply by the slightest interaction. With this the Quebec foursome shot into "Like The Ocean, Like The Innocent" Parts I and II.
Nominated for the hotly-contested Polaris Music Prize and so far making the shortlist it is no wonder these folk are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Broken Social Scene and Owen Pallett (fellow nominees). For such serious-sounding music, the band were full of smiles and not shy of chatting with the crowd inbetween numbers. The last song of the night was even preceeded with five spontaneous minutes of "Guess the TV Theme Tune" seeing the catchy tunes of Knight Rider, Growing Pains and more aired to the delight of those that showed up.
Add to this the fact that they are a well-oiled musical machine that rock hard in all the right parts and you have one of the best live acts that I have seen this year. Highlights included "Albatross", "Glass Printer" and "And This Is What We Call Progress" with the majority of their set dominated by The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night tracks. The attendance was not great but I am pretty sure word-of-mouth will make sure the next visit will see an improvement in numbers. Let's just hope that there is a next time for The Besnard Lakes in Cork.