Friday, October 28, 2011

Kathryn Calder @ Biltmore -- 10/27/11

It's been a long week of shows, and what better way to cap it off than Kathryn Calder. The current New Pornographer and former Immaculate Machine just released her second solo album, Bright & Vivid and this show was the de facto CD release, as well as the kick off to her North American tour.

I got there a bit late, catching the tail end of the first band, My Friend Wallis. The couple songs I saw were okay, but there was an incessant buzzing, and the vocals were a bit mumbly. It was pretty normal dream-pop-ish sound, and was a perfectly fine opening band, from what I saw.

Second up was, Anomie Belle from Seattle. Throughout the set she went between looping violin, guitar and keys with sparse backing band and a laptop with pre-recorded stuff -- sometimes beats, sometimes ambient noises. The music was dark and very moody, with a voice that fir the music perfectly. She was very talented, and did a great job of drawing you in, though personally I could have done without the backing laptop. But other than that -- and a few lulls between songs, mostly to get the laptop going proper -- it was a really good set, and I wouldn't mind checking her out again.

And finally up was Kathryn Calder joined by Marek Tyler, a monster on drums, as usual, and Ted Gowans (best known from Tegan & Sara) on guitar. Starting off with the raucous "Castor & Pollux" and the beautiful "All It Is" from her first album, Are You My Mother? she then launched into mostly new songs, which sounded great.
Calder jumped between keys and guitar throughout the night, and her charmingly nervous banter filed the gaps between the songs, but while playing she exuded confidence. Songs like "Who You Are?" and "New Frame of Mind" were a bit edgier and darker (in both mood and sound), but were not too drastic a departure from her sound to be jarring. The set came to a close with one of my favourites of hers, "A Day Long Past Its Prime", without bothering with the whole fake encore thing.
I've seen Kathryn  multiple times at various points, will all her bands, and it is always enjoyable seeing her perform live. Hopefully she'll be back soon enough.

Castor & Pollux, All It Is, New Frame of Mind, Turn a Light On, Walking In My Sleep, Who Are You?, Slip Away, Arrow, City of Sounds, Younger Than We've Ever Been, One two three, A Day Long Past Its Prime.

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