Ah, that old disconnect between studio and a live performance. Even the most professional, accomplished bands can suffer from it, a curious incongruity between a slick record and a ramshackle live performance. In tonight’s case? Moth is one of our favourite things of the year. Chairlift‘s live performance, however, is most certainly not.
We have to be quick to clarify that this is nothing to do with the verve of the performers. Both Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly give it some proper welly on stage tonight; the former in that joyous thrall of her own music like it’s the first time she’s performed it, the latter thrashing with a guitar akin to a teenager in his first indie band. They’re pretty kinetic as a live force, to say the least.
But it’s Chairlift’s own inventiveness that’s their drawback tonight. On record, we fell for their leftfield approach of musical bric-a-brac but on stage in front of us we can see them throw all those elements together and none of them quite sticking. Still, Show U Off imparts some of the same charm as its pre-recorded counterpart, and of course there are few songs as tremendous as Romeo.
Still, that’s hardly enough to save the night. The pacing dips as the setlist tries to traverse an impressive back catalogue, but we don’t know what we’re here to see: the operatic ballads, the thrashing indie, or the electronic pop wizards, none of which are suits Chairlift wear long enough to impress. Hey Romeo, put on your running shoes and… well, keep running really, because there isn’t much here worth sticking around for.