by Michael Thomas
An album release show is often looked at as a party, in which several bands get together at a good-size venue and celebrate the fact that a band has just released a new EP or LP. For Will Whitwham, otherwise known as Lake Forest, the release show for Silver Stars was more like a quiet get-together.
This atmosphere was made possible mostly by Whitwham’s choice of venue- not a big bar like the Garrison or the Horseshoe, but the much smaller Saving Gigi, near Bloor and Ossington. The venue is holds around 30 people, and the small number of people was the perfect fit for the music of Lake Forest. The dreamy acoustic music Whitwham produces almost demands such intimacy.
The intimate vibe was also kept going by an impeccable opening act. Finding two or more acts that have a similar vibe to put on the same bill can be hair-pulling stuff, but Brian Borcherdt, performing under the name Dusted, was the perfect match.
Borcherdt’s music in this incarnation is very soft, both in his guitar playing and his voice. The set was quite short (around 20 minutes) but Borcherdt made up for it with his humour in between sets. His funniest musing had to be when he looked out the window and saw an Eggsmart across the road, then joked about how no one would come to Saving Gigi because they’d all be going to Eggsmart instead.
After a while, it was Lake Forest’s turn at the microphone. Whitwham had some assistance in his music from Carnival Moon member Elaine Kelly-Canning (alternating between harp and violin) and another guitarist.
Whitwham played a solid set of songs consisting mostly of those from his album Silver Skies but also including a few as-yet-unrecorded ones. Kelly’s contributions on the violin added some great flourish to Whitwham’s already lush guitar atmosphere, and the second guitarist added some great backbone.
To my delight, the last song of the set was “The Autumn Sun Will Set the Land on Fire” which sounded much different with three people instead of one. As such the song took on a bit of a harder edge, which made for a nice contrast from the set’s characteristic mellowness.
Don’t fret if you missed out on this show. Whitwham is playing one more show tonight, February 25th, again at Saving Gigi.