Liars / Fol Chen Venue, Vancouver BC April 30

Liars / Fol Chen Venue, Vancouver BC April 30
A 7:30 p.m. start time is a tough sell on Friday night, and to make matters worse, this show actually got underway ahead of schedule. This meant that a lot of people missed most of Fol Chen's set, which was messy and disorganized, and seemed to suffer from some mixing issues. Nevertheless, the band soldiered on energetically, and acquitted themselves tolerably well in the end.

This left the crowd wandering around the awkwardly laid-out Venue, which, for all its bedazzled light fixtures and faux-rococo wallpaper, might well have been decorated by Ed Hardy himself. Unfortunate design and Granville drink prices notwithstanding, the Liars were greeted with a throaty roar as they took the stage for a somewhat subdued performance. Perhaps it was the effect of playing without multi-instrumentalist Aaron Hemphill, who apparently hurt his hand in Portland the night before. Or maybe it was the band playing the material from the band's latest release Sisterworld, which synthesizes the drone of Drum's Not Dead with the deranged post-punk of early Liars releases.

Whatever the cause, the show lacked the manic energy Liars' sets are known for. Still, the band's short-handedness was mitigated by members of Fol Chen (who already make up part of the Liars' touring line-up), and singer Angus Andrew has a sort of drunken, swashbuckling charm that can carry a performance even under reduced circumstances.

What resulted was a unique and oddly intimate performance, which featured most of Sisterworld in addition to well-selected pieces from the group's back catalogue. Realizing as they left the stage that there was still about 40 minutes remaining before the early-show curfew, the band returned with an encore, which included "Freak Out" from 2007's Liars and the classic Liars track "The Garden Was Crowded and Outside" from their debut release.