Another sellout weekend crowd at The Deaf Institute, Now Wave bring us a couple of Canadian bands tonight, both the established, and the up and coming. The crowd are a mixture of young and older post-rock fans, it’s possible to tell which band each audience member has come here to see, simply by looking at them.

Suuns keys player starts with a teasing and brooding synth sound while the 3 other band members take their places. They have an awkward stage presence, totally immersed in their music, gurning while playing. The drummers intense concentration sees him reaching for his nose with his bottom lip and hitting the precise and pounding rhythm with tense shoulders and jerky movements. He stops using the kick drum for a few bars, the grinding guitars make a key change, the vocal gives us something profound to ponder and then the kick starts again. Enthralling.

The guitarists appear to be literally making love to their instruments, pulling orgasm faces and singing through gritted teeth. They remind me of Clinic in parts, ‘Walking With Thee’ keeps popping into my head, but also Underworld, which is something that I’d not picked up on from listening to their debut album ‘Zeroes QC’. Extended, but always interesting instrumentals build to a release of tension and then they repeat the cycle. Anyone hearing them for the first time tonight might well have been converted, they manage to produce a progressively louder response from the crowd after each tune, the final cheer reminiscent of that for a headlining band after an epic set. Gig etiquette and time constraints mean the much requested encore will not happen from them tonight… so hopefully they will return soon on their own tour.

The husband and wife duo of  Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas front The Besnard Lakes as they head into their 8th year, with their 3rd album ‘Are The Roaring Light’, on Jagjaguwar records. Jace looks the part in a black and white embroidered country shirt and 60’s shades. The long blonde hair completes his transformation into Rhys Ifans from the film ‘The Boat That Rocks’. Smoke is poured onto the stage from the left, frustrating the army of amateur photographers, but doing a good job in dampening the glare of the incredibly bright square shaped disco lights, which kick in when the guitars get all agressive.

As with Suuns, extended instrumentals whet the appetite in anticipation for an inevitable release of energy, though the slower tunes fail to hold my attention and prove to be the only disappointment of the night. Olga’s request for a scotch goes unanswered and a few between song quips, noticably a risky one about a young woman and a Christmas tree, fall a little flat. But Jace announces he’d like to stay in Manchester…  he may regret the line “fuck Canada” if it makes it’s way onto YouTube. The crowd at the front are really up for this, a more mature gathering immerse themselves in their own hair while gently head-banging and closing their eyes, their band t-shirts may not have been washed since the 80’s. Younger punters mill around near the exit at the back, enjoying the atmosphere as the diehard Besnard fans very much make themselves heard between songs.

Of course there’s an encore, with the band reluctant to leave the stage after they’ve used up their time, lapping up the adulation by returning to the stage to applaud back. I personally preferred Suuns tonight, partly because I’ve spent more time with their album and they’re more my style, but I’m clearly in the minority here and nothing should be taken away from The Besnard Lakes, who will leave Manchester with a skip in their stride.

Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.