Chairlift // Soundclash Festival // 12. 07. 2013 On July 12, Soundclash festival, at Toronto’s harbourfront, kicked off with a concert by the New York-based band Chairlift. After perfecting their nostalgic, 90s sounding genre of music, Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly, along with a new bassist, performed not only the song “Bruises,” which launched their career, but a slew of new songs that are the result of 6 months of studio work.
Polachek remarked on the venue, saying “Seated shows are so much more elegant,” although she may have been passive-aggressively commenting on the fact that seated shows also seem to produce little to no dancing.
Live performances seem an opportunity for Polachek to express herself, dancing about stage and showing off her wide vocal range. A short drumming session. An elaborate, back-bending dance move. An exchange of glance between Polachek and the new bassist, giving a hint to both their incredible functioning as a team, and their onstage charisma.
After playing “Bruises,” the band segwayed into a “Melt With You” cover, which the crowd greeted with cheers. The crowd was small, but Polachek ultimately enjoyed herself on stage, with the bubbly personality of one untouched by the rigors of touring or world-wide fame. She carries a certain naivete that many musicians seem to lose or disconnect with.
Later, the band played “I Belong in Your Arms,” one of their newer songs. Polachek tried to rouse the placid crowd to dancing by declaring “This is a dancing song,” and the small audience obeyed. Chairlift remains one of those bands that are better live than in their recordings; the studio just can’t do them justice, and that’s a beautiful thing.
The music acted as the cinematic backdrop on the edge of the lake. From the stage, the sight of the lake was merely one of blackness. People milled about and chatted, and though it was an intimate affair, it also had the feeling of a live band at a local bar.
Polachek commented that, “it’s so amazing to watch boats go back and forth while we’re playing. I wish every show was like this.” Who can say it better than that?
In the end, crowd or no crowd, Chairlift performed with a love of their fans, however few, and a general love of, and belief in, their music. Polachek displays her childlike love and wonder for her profession, and that in itself is a beautiful thing.
// Interview coming soon!