Plants and Animals Lucky Bar, Victoria, BC, October 31

Plants and Animals Lucky Bar, Victoria, BC, October 31
Adorned in Halloween costumes that could only be described as homeless Mennonite women, or perhaps something far more clever but just really badly done, Montreal's Plants and Animals didn't waste any time setting ambience with songs from their three albums. And although a costume party atmosphere in the crowd distracted slightly from the band's attempt at creating a mood (obtrusive, loud-talking dinosaurs don't really synch up with the layered, sometimes quiet sounds of the band's first two albums), their set still managed to please.

But it was material from their latest album, The End of That, that was the highlight of the band's hour-plus performance. Whether it was the strum-stomp of "Lightshow" or the even more intimate live version of "Song for Love," each time they played a song from that album it felt awkward for them to not play the very next track in sequence.

"Crisis!" with its deep blues swagger, was the set highlight, although a perfectly timed cover of the Velvet Underground's "Foggy Notion" complemented their newer fuzzed-out rock style nicely.

It's not as if Plants and Animals' earlier material doesn't hold up, it's just that the energy of their set dipped noticeably during those songs' more drawn-out spaciness. The understated thrust of a song like "Control Me" would have been the ideal way to end their set, perhaps bringing the huge-headed pterodactyl in the crowd back to reality a little. Instead, Plants and Animals ended on an extended and predictable strum-friendly freak-out that sounded like a slightly less enthused Constantines.

Plants and Animals are only three albums in, but I'd give up Bud Light Lime for a year if they'd play The End of That front to back. And I really like Bud Light Lime.