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This was a strange bill, and I thought so from the moment I saw it. Besides the fact that they're both from Canada, I couldn't really imagine the similarities between Foxes in Fiction and Nicole Dollanganger. The former was an obvious pair with Emily Reo, seeing as they're collaborators, but for some reason throwing Dollanganger into the mix seemed like a mismatch.
The idea was intriguing, though, and as I listened back and forth between the discographies of each artist, I started to see where the connection might be coming from. Though the reasoning was still a bit opaque, my curiosity won out in the end and I made my way to Baby's All Right to experience the wonderfully bizarre lineup. Pics and notes below.
The first two acts were, as we've come to expect, aggressively chilled-out. It isn't surprising if you've meandered through Emily Reo's music—her nicely minimal, slightly folky style of dream pop is like a soundtrack to aimless, late-night reflection. And when you come off a nine-hour day of manual labor like I just had, you quickly realize that's exactly what you want.
Foxes In Fiction
Ever since its release last September, Foxes In Fiction's Ontario Gothic has consistently been one of my favorite albums. Sadly, every time I've tried to see Warren Hildebrand live, something has come up and prevented me. Since I couldn't catch his concerts, I just dove even deeper into his recordings, getting perhaps a little too familiar with every little nuance and texture.
Then I didn't touch it for a while. In fact, the first time I've listened to any of the songs off Ontario Gothic since that initial over-saturation was at this concert, which made for a crazy experience because it was all done as a solo set.
At first, I was worried that the music wouldn't be as powerful as it is on the album. That ended up being true, to a certain extent, but what we got instead was a much more fragile and intimate rendition that was absolutely beautiful. The stripping of instrumental layers left the audience with an introspective performance that showcased the vulnerability of Hildebrand's vocal delivery and the simplicity of his guitar work.
Nicole Dollanganger has fascinated me for a while now with her mix of soft, intimate lyrics and dark musical textures. It's one of those weird combinations that's surprisingly engrossing. Her music is even more fascinating in the group's live performance, with the small and introspective Nicole Dollanganger surrounded by a bassist who seems to be channeling a troll and a man who plays both guitar and percussion while he stares, unblinking, into the audience's soul with mascara-covered eyes. It's a striking vignette, but one that helps give context to the world in which this music was forged. I loved it.