In an evening of towering talent, Aestrid took the stage at House of Targ on November 29th, commanding the full attention of everyone fortunate enough to be in attendance as they permeated the room with their unique blend of post-punk and ambient electronic music. The show oscillated between dreamy, layer-blended tunes and a beat-focused, highly danceable repertoire, making for a night full of lush, full sound.
Hailing all the way from the Netherlands, this three-piece band was in fine form as they graced Ottawa as part of their final Canadian tour of 2018. [We had a chance to interview them on one of their other tours this year in April, which you can read about here.]
Aestrid’s show was a demonstration of their status as talented performers, with their ability to read the audience leading them to molding their sound to suit the ebb and flow of the space, and truly captivate their listeners. Lead singer Bo Menning’s melodies were clear and disciplined as he skillfully sustained harmonies with the drone-y chordal lines that built a wall-of-sound effect that was in turn harnessed by the band to great effect. Jurriaan Sielcken’s bass and keyboard work threw in ear-catching chord changes and texture, while percussionist Ray Murphy held it all together with his impressive drumming; indeed, many of the songs were rhythmically driven, and Murphy pulled it all together with his seemingly intuitive feel.
Their show at House of Targ was yet another testament as to why Aestrid should be seen and heard live. Replete with tunes from their last two albums—No Map or Address (2014) and Silver (2016)—and a couple from their much-anticipated forthcoming release, the performance started off with one of their signature sound-building songs, “Emhurst.” This was a great song to kick off the show, calling to the stage all those who may have been off socializing, playing pinball and other games. As the crowd gathered, Aestrid followed up with “North Star,” demonstrating the three-piece ensemble’s ability to sound like much more than their sum total, fusing together layered sustained pitches with interesting rhythmic patterns and harmonized vocals. By this time, the audience was all in, and Aestrid responded with their totally danceable “N413.” The entire set was a guided sonic tour, led by the band’s momentum-building selections that capped off with “Seattle or Portland,” from their 2014 album No Map or Address, offering an energizing finale to their show. Aestrid clearly loved its audience and got right into their performance, making them as approachable and gracious on stage as they are off it.
Their affinity for our country could easily be heard in their performance of their spacious compositions, their fascination with the boundless mirroring Canada’s own expansive landscapes and filling the room without making it feel crowded. Their show was fully brought in the spirit of post-rock timbre and texture-based sensibility, leading to a number of instances where the trio riled up the audience with amazing builds that led to break-out dance beats.
It was a great show, creating an experience that Ottawans should not miss the next time Aestrid once again rolls through town. Until then, keep up on the comings and goings of the band on their Facebook, Instagram, and website.