Weeknights should be filled with dark dream pop. Moody tones, fog machines, and dancy beats.
Wednesday nights, it seems, aren’t the greatest night for shows in Victoria. You’d think people would flock to the “early” shows with the promise of hitting a show that they can talk about at the water cooler on Thursday. An excuse to go out and still be home and in bed before 11PM.
That’s called “living the dream.”
I guess Victorians clearly have a different idea of “the dream” than I do. I showed up late to the show, roughly around the time when they said that Vancouver’s dark dream pop duo, Mu was supposed to take the stage. Unfortunately, the doors weren’t yet open, and there was no sign of a crowd itching to get into Lucky on a warm June night.
Forty-five minutes later Mu was taking the stage to barely a dozen audience members including myself and bar staff. That has to be disheartening to any band, let alone one that has traveled to the island to play a show.
Mu’s set started with a key peeling off the keyboard mid-song, but the duo powered through. As their moody beats, vocal harmonies, and dense synthpop filled the air (along with the fog machine), more and more people made their way to the vacant dance floor. Occasionally, Francesca Belcourt and Brittney Rand would make offhanded remarks under their breath directed towards the crowd and sound engineer (did they forget they have microphones?), but no one seemed to care much.
Towards the end of the set, Mu mentioned their name and someone in the audience exclaimed “That’s how you say it!” There were several overheard conversations between concert goers trying to figure it out earlier it in the evening. It’s like what a cow would say and not a Pokémon.
By the time Gang Signs took the stage, the crowd had quadrupled in size and was ready to dance and spill beer.
Heading off on a whirlwind Canadian tour in support of their latest effort, Geist, Gang Signs — with Mu in tow launched the tour in Victoria before returning home to Vancouver for another show the next night. The three piece made up of Peter Ricq, Matea Sarenac, and Adam Fink produce well-crafted, dark, cinematic indie songs layered with pop beats and melodies. Needless to say, this is the type of dance music that hipsters dream of. Catchy, yet with a hint of melodrama.
It seems that, while the Gang Signs is exceptionally dynamic in the music they make, they lack stage presence. While drummer Adam Fink being the only one showing that he was enjoying what he was doing with an occasional smile, both singers — Matea and Peter — spent more time hiding behind microphones (and notebooks) with their eyes closed.
I’m not sure if it was stage fright or that’s just how they perform, but when paired with peppy music, it didn’t make sense for them to be so motionless. Is it the job of the audience to pick up the slack and dance the night away to their music?
It was an interesting Wednesday night with both bands making me a fan of their music. I’ll certainly give them a spin at home, but I’m not sure if I’d rush out to see either live right away.