Published Mar 24, 2016Halifax bands Wintersleep and Walrus, along with Ontario's Evening Hymns, trekked to Calgary for their concert at the Gateway Restaurant & Bar last night (March 23), and each provided a unique sound, showcasing the breadth of indie rock talent in central and eastern Canada.
The first band to perform was Walrus, whose lead singer joked that tour mates Wintersleep had abandoned them earlier (the band had been performing at SXSW in Austin). Their summery, psychedelic pop featured tempo changes and upbeat rhythms that impressed, as their highly melodic guitar lines twisted around expressive bass lines.
Evening Hymns performed next, and started a little slowly, as core songwriter Jonas Bonnetta was somewhat drowned out by the raucous crowd during songs from 2015's Quiet Energies. But by the time Bonnetta reintroduced some older material into the duo's set, including "Mtn. Song" from 2009's Spirit Guides — which he referred to as Evening Hymns' best attempt at dance music — the crowd started to move. Bonnetta layered his loops vocals while his multi-instrumentalist band mate sampled an electronic beat.
The excited audience was hitting a fever pitch by the time Wintersleep took the stage, launching into a high-energy set that captured and held the audience's attention. Touring in support of their latest album, The Great Detachment, the band performed new material such as "Santa Fe," "Spirit" and the album's first single, "Amerika."
The crowd particularly enjoyed vigorous numbers from past albums such as Welcome to the Night Sky and New Inheritors. "Archaeologists" was a favourite, its tension and release keeping the audience on their toes as drummer Loel Campbell slammed his kit insistently. The entire set was a showcase for the band's unity, as they communicated intuitively, playing off each other perfectly. At one point in the show, frontman Paul Murphy leaned out towards the crowd, grinning as they roared back. Wintersleep have found an esteemed place in the heart of Calgarians, and last night's show was the proof.