Published Sep 11, 2015Celebrated for their haunting take on blues-inflected rock, Canadian outfit Timber Timbre have slowly but surely become the national ambassadors of sultry gloom and doom. Adored by fans and critics alike, the four-piece band took to the Le National stage yesterday evening (September 10) for the first of two (nearly) sold-out Montreal tour dates. Armed with songs off the Polaris Music Prize-nominated LP Hot Dreams, Timber Timbre proved just how hypnotic they can be.
Opening for the band on night one was Montreal-based foursome Avec Pas d'Casque. While a Francophone band is normally a questionable opening choice for an Anglophone headliner, the lo-fi, folk country outfit proved that talent could transcend language barriers. Blanketing the audience in a near-reverent silence, Avec Pas d'Casque drifted through their set effortlessly, surprising the audience with their delicate tones and honest lyrics. Paired with charming, self-deprecating stage banter, Avec Pas d'Casque demonstrated that a mellow band can still warm up a crowd.
If you've ever stepped inside Le National, you'll know that the floors creak, that the chandelier hanging from the nearly 115-year-old ceiling is laced with cobwebs, and that if David Lynch were to film a movie in Montreal, this would be one of his stops. In short, no venue is better suited to Timber Timbre's cinematic predisposition. Cast in silhouette, Timber Timbre began their set with album opener "Beat the Drum Slowly," leading the wide-eyed crowd into what would become a trip through Taylor Kirk's Hot Dreams.
While the abrasive, flickering stage lights were at times too much to handle, Timber Timbre's seamless set tackled fan favourites like "Black Water," and "Hot Dreams," the latter of which was accompanied by a large disco ball that turned the entire venue into a kitschy, sombre, adult prom. Bringing out a saxophonist mid-song, it was clear that Timber Timbre's well-orchestrated set was meant not only to be watched, but felt.
Without even so much as a glance up at each other, the band would hurl their tracks into a state of improvised chaos halfway through, Simon Trottier's stylish, wailing guitar solos serving as one of the show's indisputable highlights. While Kirk substituted much of the vocal flair found on Hot Dreams for a more toned-down sound, his high-energy performance made up for any missed notes.
Ending the night with an encore of "Run from Me," "Creep on Creepin' On" and "Lay Down in the Tall Grass," it was clear that while Timber Timbre were on the last leg of their lengthy international tour, they could still make it feel like the first.