Live Review: Austra play Toronto’s Phoenix Dec 1, 2011 with Young Galaxy and Tasseomancy

btw-austraBy: Laura Phillips
December 10, 2011

Rousing a crowd comes easily to Austra and its posse of interchanging stage-friends. Alongside Katie Stelmanis’ iced (and increasingly signature) operatics, the band’s homecoming show at the Phoenix last Thursday pledged theatrics and the posture of a group in its prime state of mind.

Opener Tasseomancy‘s subdued, sometimes dragging set was unable to fully relay the band’s quiet beauty, as aeriel qualities blurred amongst instrumentals and the shuffle of a less-than cozy venue. It was Young Galaxy who upped the energy with power-jamming tambourine shakes and loose body moves. The synth-pop jam band from Montreal bantered back and forth on stage, rolling breathy female vocals into electro pulse and free-ranged instrumentals to groove to.

It was the movement and ere of agility that had most onlookers limiting affection to the form of subtle sways– a fully disclosed viewing party. Standing between two back-up singers of eclectic dress, Stelmanis’ loner-themed vocals were not lost, but found, in this infectious on-stage repartee. Dorian Wolf’s bass and Maya Postepski’s steady drum beats merged into the mix with suiting grip.

The Polaris Prize nominated Feel It Break played with unexpected live renderings amongst new, dance heavy material. An alto saxophone solo accompanied the slow and ethereal ballad of “The Beast,” while a heavier version of “Beat and The Pulse” proved itself a crowd-pleaser with its throttled-out grunge manner.

It was a Talking Heads-type assemblage of narrative performance. The command, the candor, and tightly lined intricacies display Austra as more than a debut band with potential.

They came, we saw. We wait for more.

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