Harping on the fact that Ryan Gosling is a member of the spookfest that is Dead Man's Bones wouldn't be fair to the rest of that aforementioned spookfest. But not mentioning it would be irresponsible journalism. After all, just hours before Gosling and fellow actor/musician Zach Shields debuted their eclectic brand of creeped-out art-house folk in Vancouver, the line-up outside the Venue was chalk full of young fans, all eager for a glimpse of the London, ON-bred actor's dreamy smirk. It all seemed very Hollywood and calculated, but let's just call a spade a spade.
Gosling took a respectable risk, stepping onstage in front of hundreds of a fans who can recite The Notebook verbatim. And inside the club, the scene was a little predictable: Gosling's delicate strumming and the accompanying children's choir was often drowned out by star-struck fans, shouting nonsensical (yet often amusing) comments at the stage.
Gosling and Shields responded by barely engaging the audience. Instead, they tried to move swiftly through their hour-long set, which was as much pseudo-macabre theatre as it was a concert. Think shotty black and white video, a graveyard in the background and a flailing skeleton maestro.
There were lulls, including meandering takes on some of the weaker cuts from their recently released self-titled debut record, such as "Young & Tragic," wherein all focus was lost. Yet there were tremendous highs, including when Shields and Gosling turned the stage over to the ghostly children's choir. And when the choir's star, a young girl who could have passed as a young Macy Gray, treated the crowd to a haunting version of Sonny Bono's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)," the screaming nonsense was finally drowned out by rousing approval.