HAMILTON, Ontario — The flashing lights and the speakers blowing smoke and static meant either something backstage was about to blow up or a fantastic performance was on the way. Fortunately for the safety of everyone in the venue, it became clear that it was the latter when the members of experimental indie pop band Snowblink walked on stage armed with guitars instead of fire extinguishers.
The band’s performance was not quite as explosive as its entrance seemed to foreshadow, but it certainly kept things interesting.
Singer Daniela Gesundheit and accompanist Dan Goldman handed the first row a rope with bells tied to it (they would later be instructed to ring it at certain parts of songs) and then began a mellow set of songs from their most recent effort Long Live. To make up for the lack of a full band that night, Gesundheit and Goldman filled the performance out with samples, loops and an effects pedal which simulated a bass guitar.
“Everyone who I’ve met from Hamilton is so rad,” said Gesundheit between songs.
By the time she and Goldman finished their set to enthusiastic applause, it was clear that the feeling was mutual.
The evening’s mood changed briefly but significantly when Owen Pallett made his grand entrance to the sounds of Omarion’s latest single “Speedin’” pumping through the speakers. However, things quickly settled back down as the song faded out and Pallett began softly plucking the intro of “That’s When The Audience Died” on his violin strings. Though he stopped after just a few bars, the notes continued through the speakers, beginning the first of several measures layered layered through the loop pedal at his feet. Pallett’s performances are renowned for this technique, which allows him to build orchestral-sounding pieces with only a violin and piano.
After declaring that he was “getting all of the old shit out of the way,” Pallett launched into “This Is The Dream Of Win & Regine,” another song from his debut album Has A Good Home (released under his former pseudonym Final Fantasy). He performed several songs solo before welcoming Thomas Gill to the stage “to fill in the important parts and bring some much needed fashion sense.” A recent addition to Pallett’s live show, Gill brings not only fashion sense to the table — his guitar and percussion skills and background vocals are equally important assets.
After finishing some of his older songs, Pallett shifted the focus to Heartland, his newest release. The remainder of his set consisted of songs drawn from this album peppered with some older fan favorites. By the time he announced “Better Than Worse” as his last song of the night he had covered a healthy assortment of his material, yet it still proved not to be enough for the crowd who jumped to its feet for a standing ovation. The fans continued to applaud until Pallett returned for an encore performance of “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt.” And as he exited for the final time to a second standing ovation, one thing was abundantly clear: Owen Pallett may no longer be known as Final Fantasy, but he still has a good home in the hearts of his loyal and loving fans.