"It must feel good to play a show like this." I said to Adam Nanji, founding member of folk pop sauvants The Belle Game. Since Adam's move to Montreal, the band who he had formed in Vancouver with vocalist Andrea Low and guitarist Alex Andrew, doesn't often get a chance to perform together, let alone to a packed house, ready to dance at The Dakota Tavern. Travel and separation yielded dividends for the band though. Nanji met pianist and vocalist Katrina Jones in Montreal, and her lush, soft voice added to the vivid textures of their roots-tinged show Saturday night. Under the strings of incandescent bulbs and the glitter of the mirror ball all seven pieces of The Belle Game's live act gathered together with their back to the wooden walls and the eager audience lining the bar and brick pillars of the cozy basement venue. The musicians smiled as they turned to play what will likely be one of the best live performances I'll see in a while.
Though starting slow, the set eased into a higher energy, with Low and Andrew both taking their turns hammering a floor tom, pinning the back beat behind increasingly frenetic percussion. The movement on stage urged movement in the crowd as one short-haired blonde pulled up her skirt and moved her hands in waves, eyes closed and rapturous. Smiles from the periphery, a sense that the blonde was on to something. On stage, the grins widened - the dynamos spun faster, and they urged everyone on to the dance-floor.
If the difficulties of distance fail to incumber them, this septet will continue to be a must see live band. Their EP Inventing Letters is available now, and we can expect a full-length debut by spring. Until then, you can stream the beauty of The Belle Game...
FULL PHOTO SET of 32 shots on FLICKR