Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wintersleep Live Up to their Potential (Vinyl, Oct.21)

Both previous times I’ve prepared to see Wintersleep I’ve listened to their records and dreamt about how amazing it the live show should translate. Yet both times I’ve been let down – mid-afternoon Hillside Inside set, and openers to a half-empty gargantuan Toronto Amphitheatre from half-way back. Each time I’ve thought “if only they could play in a sweaty, crammed little club where the fans are stoked to be there specifically for them”. Last night at the Vinyl my wishes came true and it was absolutely everything I could have hoped for.

Shoulder to shoulder with fans the energy buzzed in the darkness while the air filled with smoke. Finally the anticipation was sated as Wintersleep took to the stage and proceeded to rock our faces off. With well-composed songs and accomplished musicians playing them, they really know how to build a song up to epic proportions that make you lose your place in the swirl of guitar and drums. It didn’t matter whether the songs were new or old throughout the night because the band was feeling it, and the fans actually gained energy along the hour and a quarter of mindmelding music. Just as New Inheritors tracks like Preservation, Baltic and Trace Decay build and improve as they go along, so did this show.

A fine subset of Welcome to the Night Sky was included too, such as Archaeologist that played well with keys traded for tambo and a modified chorus, while Dead Letters.. was simply and purely awesome. The crowd sure was pleased by the early-set back-to-back accessible hits of Weighty Ghost into Oblivion while deeper cut fans must have been blown away by the full rendition of that album’s closer Miasmal Smoke & the Yellow Bellied Freaks that also closed this set.

After going out with a bang (figuratively, and literally – burst of confetti) the crowd hollered for a legitimately deserved encore and the efforts fully paid off. They led with the repeatedly requested Orca, dating way back to 2003 from the bands first self-titled effort, and it was appreciated. Finally they hit on 2005’s release, finishing oh-so-strong with the neatly drummed Danse Macabre letting us all yell out “Oh you had such big, big plans!” Well my plan was to take in Wintersleep at their best, in this well-suited situation and that’s exactly what I got; one of the best live shows in recent Guelph history - or anywhere for that matter.

Nearly Complete Set List
Drunk on Aluminium
?Trace Decay
Dead Letters & the Infinite Yes
Black Camera
Experience the Jewel
Weighty Ghost
New Inheritors
Miasmal Smoke & the Yellow Bellied Freaks
Danse Macabre

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