Xiu Xiu / Luyas Club Lambi, Montreal QC April 11

It was a calm night on what is usually one of Montreal’s busiest streets, inside the atmosphere was eerily similar. As the crowd trickled in, an audience that sat cross-legged in front of the stage filled up the floor space. Though there is nothing wrong in a little pre-show rest, this type of behaviour is rarely preceded by manic floor-punches or enthusiastic song requests. This was the decidedly relaxed scene as opening band Luyas took the stage. The local trio, whose members also play in acts like the Bell Orchestre, brought the full force of their strength to the stage. The masked Stefie Schneider drums with a precision that anchors their sound, while Jessie Stein’s child-like vocals evoke a sense of indie greatness. There are few bands that can turn the sound of the French horn into anything other than a French horn but Pietro Amato does an amazing job of making the orchestral experimental. And though the Luyas are one of the most promising bands in the city, Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart was the only man to get the crowd on their feet. Opening with two boisterous numbers, Stewart and band mates Caralee McElroy and Chas Smith, then took a more sombre tone playing more recent tracks like "Boy Soprano” and "Bishop, CA.” The energy resonated from some of the older tracks like "Fabulous Muscles,” which elicited smirks across the room, though the atmosphere remained decidedly quiet. The lulls between songs seemed to pacify the audience and this made it difficult to keep momentum. The crowd wanted to be enthusiastic, and "Crank Heart” got a few hoots and heads bopping more than some of the other songs. Overall the night simply felt sober and respectful, which is an odd sensation at a rock show for such a thoroughly expressive band.