Published Feb 19, 2011During Plants and Animals' encore break, two guys in the bathroom were having a debate about whether the band sounded more '70s or '90s. But there was one thing they could both agree on -- this was a night for guitar lovers.
First up, Vancouver's Yukon Blonde bounded on stage to a warm welcome, making it clear that most of the audience was already familiar with the openers. The crowd was transfixed throughout, remaining in rapt silence when the musicians stepped back from the microphones to deliver ghostly vocal harmonies on "Wind Blows." The band picked up the energy on "Babies Don't Like Blue Anymore," a jangly rocker that got concertgoers dancing with its pulsing bassline. They also played a number of new songs, which are sure to please fans of last year's self-titled album with their brawny guitars and dusty Laurel Canyon harmonies.
Plants and Animals took a more discordant approach, cranking their amps and opening with the brand new "2010," a lengthy rocker that bristled with guitar grit and thundering drums. Nearly all of the songs had a similar formula, with frontman Warren Spicer often raising one arm dramatically while slashing out fiery riffs.
While the band's recorded work has delved into mellow folk and ornate baroque rock, their live set was much less nuanced. Sometimes this worked in the band's favour, as heavier songs like "The Mama Papa" and "Jeans Jeans Jeans" sounded downright ferocious. Other cuts failed to live up to the intricacy of their studio counterparts, with "Feedback in the Field" and "Undone Melody" given homogenous hard rock makeovers.
In the end, both of the dudes in the washroom were right, as the set mixed bombastic, '70s-infused jams with searing alt-rock energy. And even if Plants and Animals' performance lacked the subtlety of the group's studio albums, the dude playing air guitar sure seemed to enjoy it.