Plants and Animals Trip through La La Land

Plants and Animals

Review by Sharon Williamson
Photos by Mike Bouchard

(more photos) 


Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of the indie, Montreal based band, Plants and Animals.  Their albums, especially Parc Avenue have provided the soundtrack to my life in the past year.  I am completely addicted to their well-crafted songs, their energetic vocals and their ability to set a mood, both frenzied and serene.  For that reason, I was amped up to see them perform on the Subway stage at this years Ottawa Bluesfest.

My first thought as they took to the stage was to ponder if Warren Spicer and Nic Basque were upset that they both chose to wear white jeans and green, sleeveless t-shirts.  How embarrassing!  But it wasn’t long before the music swept my mind elsewhere.  

Within minutes, they began building the soundscape and sweat was dripping off Warren in a stream steady enough to cause concern about electrocution.

Warren Spicer - Plants and AnimalsI wanted to love this show, I really did, but for me it was lacking the richness that I associate with Plants and Animals from their albums, "Parc Avenue" and "La La Land".  I think they did great for a three piece band sans a bass player, but I hungered for fullness.  I also struggled with the liberties taken with a lot of the songs.  I am all for jamming and deviating from the normal structure of a song, but in my opinion they just did this too much last night and I had a hard time connecting with songs that I absolutely love.

I quite enjoyed when the audience sang along to the la la la la la la la la la parts in "Faerie Land", and "Guru" was really nice, but favorites of mine, "Mercy" and "Feedback in the Field" really suffered from the lack of great backing vocals and crisp whistling.

I was lucky enough to enjoy "Bye Bye Bye", from the side stage, where there was a more defined low-end through the monitors, so that was a treat.  I also loved the use of the autoharp.

All-in-all I am certainly glad I went and I can’t wait to see them again, but to truly enjoy Plants and Animals, I guess I need to throw on the headphones and crank it up.