Caribou / Born Ruffians Richard’s On Richards, Vancouver BC October 30

Dan Snaith’s Caribou never stays in one place for long. In only a few albums, he’s migrated from one genre to the next, going from chilly blips and bleeps to shoegazing to Can-inspired Krautrock. But this sonic shape-shifting isn’t limited to his recorded output; each album’s accompanying tour has evolved as well. And since Caribou’s latest record, Andorra, is a glittering psychedelic experience, so too is its show. After a tight set of spic-and-span indie rock by Toronto’s Born Ruffians, flickering geometric shapes soon began projecting onto, and behind, Caribou’s four-man touring band. But despite the stunning kaleidoscopic visuals, the group suffered a clumsy start, taking five or six songs before they overcame a vocal-drowning mix and worked into a decent groove. In time, however, the show displayed Snaith trying to mould Caribou into a more rock-based and, in a sense, traditional live act than that of previous tours. Despite the songs’ beat-heavy nature, the guitars now play a bigger role in the group, working overtime in both the rhythm and melody departments. Also, Snaith delivered his vocals live instead of relying on pre-recorded tracks like in some previous Caribou shows. He now spent more time whispering blissful melodies into the microphone than providing a second-set of limbs on the kits. Yet the hard-hitting beats and buzzing electronics still had a way of consuming much of the delicacy found in Andorra songs and seemed better suited for older rhythm-powered tracks, which came primarily from Caribou’s last effort, The Milk of Human Kindness. This sometimes-poor delivery was more to do with the bad mix than the band members themselves, however. Perhaps this show wasn’t all that it could’ve been, but it was still good to see Snaith taking chances with Caribou’s live show, even if they didn’t always pay off.