Great Lake Swimmers and Jen Grant, St Matthew's Church, Halifax, Sep 18. I first saw Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers live as a solo act, still called Great Lake Swimmers, last summer at the Wolfe Island Music Festival. It was an awesome day that also included the Hidden Cameras, The Constantines, and John Rae & The River. When we arrived, the sun was beginning to set behind the dusty baseball diamond. Long shadows and a mellow audience: it was a perfect setting for the melancholy set. I was sad that Dekker didn't bring out one of my favourite Great Lake Swimmers' songs, "Merge, A Vessel, A Harbour" at that show, because the sun was setting and the lyrics would have been so perfect:
Naked as a fiery sunset.
You turn, not fleeting,
Destroyed not complete,
A perfect cacophony,
Rising like vapour,
Solid and liquid,
Awkward and trapping,
Stolen but paid for,
Legs and knees and ankles and toes....
How's that for a description of a lover, eh? Anyway, I thought for sure he'd play it last night. As it turns out, he's got a lot of songs about harbours, so he didn't really need to play up "Merge, A Vessel, A Harbour"s water connection, even though the church looks over Halifax Harbour. The church was a good venue acoustically, although I'm not really digging the rock-band-in-a-church thing on the whole. It gives churches too much cred, to my mind. I was won over by Dekker et al's warm sonics and it was, in the end, a lovely show.
Download the Great Lake Swimmer's 5-song live EP, featuring Basia Bulat on backing vocals. Free.