Sunday, March 22, 2015

Limblifter @ Biltmore Cabaret

It's been over a decade since the last Limblifter album, I/O, and while the band has never officially called it quits -- they even did a few "comeback" shows a few years ago -- it seemed like a new record was elusive. Especially after Ryan Dahle formed Mounties with Hawksley Workman and Steve Bays and the success they have had.
But good things come to those who wait, as their fourth album, Pacific Milk, finally comes out in a couple weeks, and Limblifter hit the Biltmore to tease the album.

First up was Invisible Ray, a garage-y rawk duo from Vancouver. Fast and loud and sloppy with long hair swirling and growly vocals, there was nothing in the set that was all that bad, but nothing that particularly stood out, either. Well, except one song whose chorus was, I am pretty sure, "Destroy destruction".
I'm not always a fan of the type of hard rock they had going, that would have been right at home in the Fox Seeds competition, but as an opener, they were fine.

The second opener was Jesse Creed aka The Passenger, and was about as far on the other end of the spectrum as you could get. He took stage without a word and started putting together a set of ambient synthy tones that ebbed and flowed as one long, instrumental piece, as if in movements. The music was haunting at times, often dreamy, and could have easily been the score to a Wes Anderson movie.
Musically, I really liked it, but it was not that dynamic of a live show. Jesse was hard at work on his table of instruments, but didn't say a single word on stage, just got up, played, and left. 

Not long after that, Limblifter hit the stage. Frontman Ryan Dahle joined by Megan Bradfield on bass, Gregory Macdonald on guitar & keys, and newcomer Eric Breitenbach on drums, and they started off with some new songs from Pacific Milk. And the new songs sounded pretty great; lead single "Dopamine" had the same Limblifter feel of catchy hooks and sharp lyrics, without sounding too dated. A few of the other new albums that caught my ear were "Key of Karavana" and "Moods of Mechanics".
Of course they hit the old material as well, as they went all the way back to '96, to their debut self-titled with the turmoil in "Tinfoil", and hit about every album since -- even Dahle's solo album, Irrational Anthems with the erratic "Chop Chop".
After they brought the main set to an end with the perfect song for frustration, "Screwed It Up", they came back for the obligatory encore and a few more old favourites. "Ariel vs Lotus" got the biggest reaction of the night and "Perfect Day to Disappear" seemed an excellent choice to wrap things up, as the band started to leave the stage. But Dahle asked with a smirk if we wanted to see the band scramble as he gave the crowd one more, launching into "I Wonder If...", and the rest of the band indeed scrambled back to their instruments to finish the show off.

There was one down side, unfortunately, but it had nothing to do with the band. There was That One Guy front and centre the whole time, way too drunk, thinking it was his own private show, as he tried to converse with the band between every song by yelling at the top of his lungs, and filming the whole thing (including his yelling) with his cell phone.
But aside from That One Guy, it was a strong show from one of my favourite bands from the 90s, and I can't wait to hear what the new album has to offer.

Hotel Knife, Chop Chop, Under the Riot, Palomino, Vicious, Cordova, Tinfoil, Dopamine, Cast a Net, Key of Karavana, Wake Up To The Sun, In/Out, Juliet Club, Moods of Mechanics, Position Open, Cellophane, Screwed It Up.
(encore) Count to 9, Ariel vs Lotus, Perfect Day to Disappear, I Wonder If...

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