Concert Review + Photography: Young Galaxy at Empty Bottle (Chicago)

Young Galaxy (Montreal), Winter Gloves (Montreal), and The Single Helix (Chicago)
March 25th, 2011
Empty Bottle in Chicago, Illinois

Gallery: Young Galaxy at Empty Bottle

Following the show last Friday, Stephen Ramsay pointed out this review of their New York show at Mercury Lounge, in which the writer just seemingly couldn’t get past Catherine McCandless’ latest addition. Less than two months away from delivery, the latest addition to the Montreal music family (congrats Evan and Amy of Stars) made a stop to Chicago. The evening showcased the dream pop behind recently released Shapeshifting, dipping fleetingly back to Invisible Republic (“Long Live the Fallen World”). Awash in venetian blind projected images, which vastly improved the already improved lighting in the Empty Bottle, “For Dear Life” and “Blown Minded” rolled the evening on following their fellow Winter Gloves’ uptempo, persistent indie rock. Contrary to the NYC writer’s fixation, my fascination focused on whether or not the new, nearly digitally ethereal sound would translate on stage. Catherine’s singing, which was balanced on “For Dear Life” erupted with talent more so than the album towards the end of the song with her hair extensions (correct me if I’m wrong) fell back as her voice surged skyward.

“Blown Minded” soon thereafter evidenced that their Scandinavian synthed influence did indeed cross over, matching. Throughout the set, many of the songs either mirrored or were ever so slightly altered with the more natural feel an actual band can give over controlled, tightened or electronic drumming. The crowd basked in “Phantoms,” a brightly paced highlight with Caribbean provoking guitar, which temporarily stole the Bottle away from the brisk winter (what spring?) winds. These evocations came back with “Cover Your Tracks,” this time with Stephen’s smooth vocals enhanced during the chorus with Catherine’s, creating a soothing, almost swimming feel thanks also in part to the projector’s images. Their return to Chicagoland wrapped up with the single “We Have Everything” capped with “B.S.E.” More akin to Winter Gloves, “B.S.E.” had the audience shuffling in tempo as McCandless’ gently quivering, impressive singing tugged at the ears as the group focused on moving the feet.

The Empty Bottle, for those who were there, gave a glimpse at the changes going on in the Montreal music scene. Winter Gloves, who I would travel hours if they were to perform with Malajube (#justsaying), was the night’s dance club while Young Galaxy was that perfect lounge you seek afterwards. At first, it seemed confusing who should’ve headlined for who but in retrospect, you just couldn’t top the melodic combination of Stephen, Stephen Kamp and Catherine. The lasting impression gave an indication that something new is brewing along the shores of the St. Laurent, and already convinced those Chicagoans at the Bottle to return to our neighbors to the north (even if we’re desperate for the warmth of the south).

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