. : : February 8th, 2012 : : .
I wasn’t sure I was going to see Ohbijou when they were announced as playing the Drake Hotel‘s 8th birthday party in the Underground. After all, although I like their stuff, I’d hardly call myself a big fan, and I had seen them only six weeks earlier. It wasn’t until Folly and the Hunter was announced as the opening act that I rushed online to reserve a ticket. You may remember from their opening performance for Rebekah Higgs that I fell in love with the Montreal natives quickly and deeply.
Their set would also be the trial run for my new microphones, provided by The Sound Professionals. The mics are noticeably heavily, much larger, but of significantly better build quality. It took me several minutes of fiddling after arriving at the Underground to get comfortable with them, and figure out how to best position them. Luckily, the included clips are rotating, and made it easier than it otherwise would have been.
No sooner did I get set up then I found myself in a conversation with Nick Vallee and Christopher Fox of the band. Nick recognized me from the Facebook event page, and also pointedly asked, “Are you the guy who bootlegged the [October] show?” It’s always weird being recognized and/or called out as a taper, because it’s supposed to be a super-secret, stealthy pastime, and even more uncomfortable of a question to answer when you’re not sure if the band is pro or anti-taping.
Honestly is the best policy, though, and I admitted that I was, and would be breaking in new mics taping their show. They seemed really interested in the process, and we shared a brief conversation about their forth-coming album, which they are currently funding through a Kickstarter-like site, IndieGoGo.com. Before long, the band took to the stage to share a sneak preview of many of the songs that were in contention for the disc, tentatively titled Watch For Deer At Dawn.
This was a slightly pared down Folly and the Hunter — just the three core members of the band showed up this time. Perhaps so, there was less showy instrument swapping this go-around but the performance was no worse off in spite of it, and the sound was rich and full sounding, benefiting tremendously from the always awe-inspiring sound mix at the Drake.
Malcontent to show off just their impressive musical chops, the band’s personality also shone through — perhaps more so on this performance than the last. A personal favourite moment was between songs, when Christopher apologized to the audience for a cold that the band was sharing. “I wish I didn’t sound like Barry White, that’s all,” he joked, making fun of his ever-so slightly raspy voice. Nick quickly jumped in, “I can reassure you, you don’t sound like Barry White.” “A very feminine Barry White,” Christopher offered as a compromise, as the audience had a good chuckle and the band was all smiles.
When, mid-set, the band broke out a couple of songs from their completely independently released debut album, Residents, it underscored there’s no clear musical division between new and old.
That’s not a negative observation.
Beautiful harmony and interplay between voice and instrumentation remained the order of the night, showcasing just how much promise Watch For Deer At Dawn has. Check out this recording, which (aside from a chatty group of people behind me) sounds absolutely brilliant. If you like what you hear, maybe you will visit the band’s IndieGoGo site and help make their sophomore album a reality. I believe it’s money very well-spent.
02. How It Came Down
05. Moving On
09. Raising The Dead
12. Tragic Care
Thanks to Folly and the Hunter, Ohbijou, The Drake Hotel and it’s staff, and The Sound Professionals for making this recording happen.