Live Review: Plants & Animals @ The Seahorse, May 16th, 2014

You never can tell what exactly is going to happen while being knee deep into a drunk and stupor.  Some people end up in fights, some dance, some order double sized poutines and some smoke crack (we’ve all seen the videos!!).

It appears that in my case, I agree to go to live music, and it is because of a drunk and stupor that I found myself checking out Montreal indie darlings, Plants and Animals.

I try to make it a habit of sitting down and digging into a bands discography before checking them out live, but due to a recent home acquisition, my time has been swamped and I did not have the opportunity to familiarize myself with the bands work.  By allowing my inner music geek to be completely submerged into something new and exciting, this move would either be a stroke of genius, or it would totally backfire and I’d be left at the back of the bar looking for a way out.

Opening the evening was a five piece rock band from PEI, North Lakes.  The lads from Charlottetown hit the stage with a sound which was very reminiscent of a late 70’s indie, punk, garage rock (or you could just say that they sounded like the child of The Ramones and The Strokes).

Vocally the lead singer wasn’t going to blow you away with an overly impressive range, but what he did bring to the table fit perfectly with the music that was pumping through the speakers.  It seems like such a cliche thing to say (or maybe it doesn’t…..who knows) but the band had a very raw, unpolished sound which, early on, caught the attention of the crowd but as the set progressed something changed and the freshness that was found during the first few songs had evaporated and each song seemed to bleed into the next.  It wasn’t as if these guys weren’t talented, it just became a little to redundant and I was ready to move onto the headliners.

Plants and Animals took the stage and carried themselves with a confidence only found in bands that have been around.  They were tight and aggressive but not in your face.  They had a look and a feel of a band who knew who they were…..although the lead singer did wear a hat that reminded me of something straight out of a honky tonk video (its tough when a member of a band wears something that really stands out….like a cowboy hat…..unless your at a country show).  They were engaging but wasted no time bantering with the crowd and after the first four songs they had the people eating out of their hands.

It looked as though I was in for an absolute beauty of a night and would probably leave with a couple of albums in my hand….it seemed as though I had made the right decision by not familiarizing myself with their work….and then it all went wrong.

The band switched gears and kicked out back to back snoozers that zapped all of the energy out of The Seahorse.  From that point on, the show turned into one of those sets that the real fans enjoyed but those who weren’t as familiar with the group were left looking for more.  The songs became more obscure, less catchy and just a little dull.

Much like the opening act, this Montreal quartet were uber  talented but the set left me longing for the first four songs.  I wasn’t disappointed that I was able to sit, have a beer and listen to some new music, but at the same time 75% of what I heard did nothing to make me want to see them the next time they come around.

Where did the energy go?  Where did the catchy jam and infectious rhythm section disappear to and why did I find myself waiting for them to break into a cover of “Suspicious Minds“?

About the author


Jeff is one-fourth of the group that makes up HAFILAX. His usual ramblings can be read right here on the website. If reading isn't your thing, he also hosts the Basement Tapes podcast.