Published Aug 12, 2016When it comes to Canadian synth-pop and new wave, Young Galaxy's reputation precedes them. The Montreal outfit were swift and economical at Up Here Fest on Thursday night (August 11), featuring a skeletal setup of drums, keys and vocals and leaving the rest to backing tracks. While this setup — as well as the absence of key members like vocalist/guitarist Stephen Ramsay — may make some concertgoers balk, the group made up for it with pure showmanship.
The set drew heavily from their last three albums, seamlessly meshing cuts from last year's Falsework with older material. The highlight was still undoubtedly "Pretty Boy," a towering tour-de-force of a ballad and the group's most famous and best song, but new, danceable cuts like "Factory Flaws" and "Body" were also received well by the crowd.
With the group's relatively sparse setup, the onus was on frontwoman Catherine McCandless to deliver the goods. For the most part, she performed admirably, delivering powerful vocals and nimble choreography to go with the outfit's trademark shimmering synths to wow the Sudbury crowd. Though their sound would have benefitted from a more involved and dynamic performance musically and a little bit less backing track, Young Galaxy were certainly enjoyable and showed why they deserve their lofty place on the festival bill.