The Besnard Lakes Starlite Room, Edmonton AB October 3

"Holy guacamole! That guy sure can hit the high notes.” That’s what we all exclaim after hearing the Besnard Lakes’ album, The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse. But when listening to Jace Lasek live, his crinkly blonde hair scattered about his face as he leans towards the microphone, that’s not the common reaction at all. Instead, it’s more like, "How the hell does he do that?” Lasek’s ringing falsetto beat any recording of his voice, just as the band’s misty, psychedelic presence trumped any of the droning fantasies that reach out from the album. In fact, everything the Besnards did on stage was three times as lucid as anything that would come out of a pair of headphones. At the beginning of their show, the band circled in an automatic computer voice while a blanket of fog separated them from the eager humanity that stood before them. The Besnard Lakes weren’t really welcoming, they weren’t really warm; instead, they matched content to form and displayed exactly what they wanted to say. "Devastation” was the opener, and only towards the end of the song did the haze give way to their serious, contagious facial expressions. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t entertaining. The giddy, "put your hands up in the air” sort of amusement would have been trivial compared to the sophisticated, alarming, and shaking musical conversations they instigated. Their songs melted together and took on a mellower, sedated pace, alluding to a sort of mechanical identity that much of today’s performers procure. Sure, it all sounds so artsy-fartsy and philosophical, but I’ll be damned, the Besnard Lakes gave minds a work out as ears nodded in time with "Disaster.” Their smart performance was definitely a nice change to completely blanking out to some recycled rock ditty.