Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An Horse And Wintersleep Played The Hotel Utah - Review, Pictures

It's extremely awesome when you catch a band that you've never seen live, and they truly deliver. What's even better is when you get there early enough for the opener, and they not only deliver, but do so with enough uniqueness and poise that you end up walking away feeling like you caught a double bill. At the Hotel Utah, that's exactly what happened: not only did we get to catch An Horse's incendiary live set, but we got to see Wintersleep deliver an awesome set of noisy rock as well.

Wintersleep took to the stage, and we'll be honest with you: we were feeling slightly shallow, and highly skeptical. The band's appearance seemed to scream default-indie-rock, and we were mentally preparing for something of a middling, mediocre set. Thankfully, what we got was completely the opposite. Lesson learned: book, cover, do not judge.

The band delivered a set that was a fantastic blend of uber-tight instrumentation and noisy dischord. At first we weren't convinced that the vocals were our style. Yet as the set progressed, the tunes were just so solid and the delivery so adept that we were completely won over. The band's style (we hate saying this for another Canadian band, but it's true) had strong echoes of Broken Social Scene for us, but with a bit more straight ahead rock and roll vibe. Still, comparisons are seldom conclusive. Let us just say that Wintersleep is definitely worth your time and attention.

An Horse followed soon after, and we have to say that it was everything we expected and more. The same ice cold energy that came across in the Letterman performance was equally, if not more, apparent in the band's delivery. Kate Cooper's vocals simply take on a more poignant tone in the live environment, and the effect is one that resonates with the listener long after. In short, this is a band who represent so well live that it transforms the way one listens to the records. They're the sort of band who exemplify just why we go to see live music.

On top of really delivering in a live setting, the band is also remarkable technically. At times it was tough to believe that all this noise was coming from only the two people on stage. Cooper successfully used an array of pedals to beef up her guitar sound to seem far more populous than the one guitar that was actually in attendance. Similarly, drummer Damon Cox managed to lay down a drum track that was remarkably polyrhythmic for such straight ahead rock and roll. On top of all the instrumental talent, the band also managed some awesome harmonized vocals throughout the set. To be frank, we were pretty stunned at the level to which it all came together.

If you haven't gotten the idea yet, we're really digging An Horse. A lot of it has to do with an almost unquantifiable feel that we get from their live show. The thing is, with music that feel is definitely enough to go on. We could (and did, it seems) list the things that make An Horse great on paper, but the reality is that they deliver a spark that we can't really define. All we can do is strongly recommend you check it out for yourself.

More pictures at the HAD Archive


kata said...

I was there! Wintersleep is always amazing live.