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Saturday Night: Plants and Animals at Fitzgerald's

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Plants and Animals, Vestibule Fitzgerald's May 27, 2012

"It takes a good friend to say you've got your head up your ass," sang Plants and Animals lead vocalist Warren Spicer Saturday. It does. These Montreal musicians played their hearts out to a small but mighty crowd at Fitzgerald's.

Truthfully, I was preparing myself to write a snobby-sounding review of this nice band. I initially judged them as mediocre songwriters with a "ripoff/copout" style, borrowing from artists ranging from the Velvet Underground to U2 all in, say, one album -- their most recent album, this year's The End of That.

Basically, in my head, I was accusing Plants and Animals of trying too hard to be cool. But really, "ripoff/copout" is not the best description; musicians are free to have their own influences. Not only does that not make much sense, but who sounds like they're trying to sound cool now?

The secret is out. Your humble reviewer is actually a part-time, highly judgmental hipster. Just kidding, kind of.

How does this all relate? I brought a good friend with me to watch the show, and she was clearly enjoying herself. I was enjoying myself, too. Okay, so my friend didn't tell me that I had my head up my ass, but I feel that in my initial opinion, I kind of did.

Again, Plants and Animals played with much heart, and were good showmen, and they sounded great live. How about that?

Though with openers Vestibule, my snobbery remains. Granted, they played with heart, too, and were great if you think the world needs a nu-metal revival. Holy moly moly moly -- I always thought those were the correct Limp Bizkit lyrics, too.

So Plants and Animals were quite different from their opening band. As opposed to their usual three-piece lineup, they brought an extra guitarist clad in a Hawaiian shirt.

The crowd was small, but filled with seemingly big fans. A row of teens clutched their newly purchased Plants and Animals records while already knowing most of the words to almost every song the band sang. In fact, the band had most of the crowd singing along towards the last three songs.

Midway through the set, guitarist Nicolas Basque declared, "Any of y'all heard about the insanity workout program? That's right, I said y'all." First off, that was a charming usage of Texas lingo. Second, Fitzgerald's was insanely hot, so they also cracked a charming joke.

They followed with "Lola Who?" actually my favorite song of theirs. It sounded most effortless, natural and original, which in my opinion is what they were in fact trying to go for.

What made their live appearance differ so much from what I found in their records and music videos was their spirit. I was almost expecting a band as snobby as perhaps my initial opinion of them, but they played happily and without pretension.

Canadians have that shtick that most of them are nice, hardworking folk, right? I'm not making any Canada jokes. In my experience, it's true, and voilà! Playing songs from all of their albums, Plants and Animals proved it to be so.

Just in time to perform "Lightshow," one of their singles, the band turned a microphone to the crowd and almost everyone began singing along. With their active little fan base present, this unified singalong continued right up through the encore.

Personal Bias: Again, I'm a judgmental hipster girl.

The Crowd: People were singing along through and through.

Overheard in the Crowd: Other than singing along, most people were quiet and thoroughly enjoying their show.

Random Notebook Dump: "So I like their li'l guitar riffs and stuff. These guys look nice."

PLANTS AND ANIMALS SET LIST


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