Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Friday, September 22

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Dylan, Wilco & MMJ Unite for Americanarama Fest Record Store Day Recap 2013 »

Review Mon Apr 22 2013

The Besnard Lakes Kick Up a Storm @ Schubas, 4/20

You might imagine that music critics and live show reviewers get some sort of coveted access at concerts that allows them the perfect vantage point from which to report what happened that night in their reviews for the next day. I often imagine Greg Kot, for example, in some secret, birds-eye perch at music venues around town, quietly taking notes before flying back to the Tribune Tower at night, unseen, not a single tall person in his way.

Wouldn't that be nice.

But Chicago is a big city with a lot of very small music venues, so when one of them sells out, like Schubas did on Saturday night for The Besnard Lakes, the majority of us have no choice but to squeeze through small, overcrowded rooms to try and get as good of a view and as good of a listen as possible.

Fortunately, a band like The Besnard Lakes makes this a much less stressful proposition.

The Montreal husband-wife duo of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas write enormous songs as The Besnard Lakes. Over the course of four albums now, the band has paired complex, soaring melodies with epic layers of guitar noise that rise and fall at moment's notice. Songs are prone to sudden outbursts or complete changes in direction, while Lasek and Goreas maintain melodic stability throughout.

There's something to be said for not worrying about having a good view at a live show. On Saturday, The Besnard Lakes had big, colored strobe lights flashing on stage during their sets' loudest of outbursts. If you couldn't see the band playing, the lights and volume alone were enough to turn Schubas into something much larger than the small-capacity venue that it is.

During a roughly 90-minute set, The Besnard Lakes played a solid selection of songs from their four albums. Lasek and Goreas traded vocal duties throughout, each voice rising steadily above the band's dizzying volume.

Probably the highest point of the set was "Albatross", a song from 2010's The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, whose gentle, pristine melody is suddenly interrupted halfway through by a jarringly relentless storm of guitar noise. Of course, the band enhanced this part live, with Olgeas thumping her bass in time along with almost violent drum smacks while guitarists Lacek and Richard White fiercly strummed their guitars until anyone wearing earplugs in the crowd likely couldn't resist the urge to take them out--even if just for a second--to hear how loud it truly was. That's at least what I did.

It was an excellent example of the heightened experience from just closing your eyes, looking down, and imagining what the band could have possibly been doing to their instruments to produce such a huge, relentless racket. There was no need to "see" what was going on.

Later on in the set, I looked around and noticed other people taking in The Besnard Lakes' noise in their own unique ways. Some had their eyes closed, some lightly davened their heads back and forth. Ohers just completely surrendered, with their arms raised up in the air.

As always, it was only when the music finally stopped that everyone came back up for air, to look at their friends and shake their heads in approval, finally understanding just how loud and powerful a set it really was.

GB store

David / April 22, 2013 5:31 PM

Mind if I drop a pic from the show?

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15