Blank Dogs / Cosmetics Reg's Place, Vancouver BC April 16

Blank Dogs / Cosmetics Reg's Place, Vancouver BC April 16
New York's Blank Dogs (aka Mike Sniper) spent his first couple years of existence shrouded in mystery, his album covers usually showcasing an afghan-covered body or simply an array of masks. After releasing a slew of seven-inches, cassettes and a couple of full-length albums, Sniper decided to show his face and take his bedroom project to the stage, all while launching his prodigious Captured Tracks label, which, in less than two years, boasts close to 50 releases.

Vancouver openers Cosmetics, who will join Sniper and co. for a brief tour and have released a seven-inch on his label, brought their throbbing blend of glam, goth and dance to Vancouver's newest hush-hush venue, Reg's Place. Admittedly, their sound, which has garnered more than enough comparisons to Glass Candy and Chromatics, seemed best suited for at-home listening on the ol' hi-fi. The mix was muddy and was weighted heavily towards the bassier end of their music, which pretty much eliminated the vocals and the icy synth lines that make their recordings so persuasive.

Unfortunately, Blank Dogs seemed to suffer from the same fate. Sniper, planted firmly in the middle of the stage with hood over head and flanked by two keyboardists, played tracks ranging from the early years to a few fresh ones taken from recent releases. Though the Blank Dogs recorded sound is now a lot cleaner than his extreme lo-fi releases, the mix at Reg's was more akin to those fuzz- and reverb-riddled early tracks, which didn't translate well on stage. In fact, hooks and melodies from his old familiar songs, and even the more polished new ones, were so buried beneath the layers of synths and the overloaded vocal effects that they all but disappeared in the packed loft. Perhaps the performance would have been better suited to a proper venue, although the intoxicating atmosphere of the underground show would be hard to replicate anywhere else in Vancouver.