Under the Green Desk Lamp…
The interior of Filthy McNasty’s has been renovated—a new stage occupying the space formerly reserved for pool tables and Big Buck Hunter. The bathrooms have been treated with a dull wood finish—belying the bar’s name with an unprecedented sense of care and cleanliness.
Otherwise, Filthy’s is much the same as ever. The specially made ‘420’ menu is a sheet of printer paper with a scant line of items on it, and the familiar denizens pack themselves in tightly—with little pretension and even less sense of personal space—around the stage. They’re waiting for Lutra Lutra to perform. We all are.
But, we are told, there have been some complications with the opening act, and we will have to continue waiting as the band scurries about trying to solve the problem. The fans don’t seem to mind the wait so much, the booze is flowing, and spirits are high.
Lutra Lutra are an Edmonton, Alberta based band who members include Garreth Burrows (Vocals and Guitar), Katrina Burrows (Keys and Vocals), Will Smith (Bass) and Denis Frigon (Drums), and much like the freshly updated interior of the bar, they too have promised to bring in the new by debuting several songs from their upcoming LP.
Their self-titled EP, ‘Lutra Lutra’ is hardly old, bearing a 2016 release, but the brief, 6 song debut disc is already very familiar to fans of the band—who continue to mill about, eager for the show to begin.
This album, given to me recently by guitar player and vocalist Garreth, was an intriguing introduction to a band notable as much for its strong and precise rhythm section (Smith is an especially stand-out performance tonight) as it is for the articulate cadence of its near-literary lyricism.
With anthemic songs such as ‘Fall Out of Love (FOOL)’, ‘Miser Remedy’, and the energetic closer ‘What We’ve Lost’, the album, despite being only just over 17 minutes, is packed full of catchy riffs and memorable lyrics which do much to showcase the band’s wry humour. Many of these songs will be guaranteed crowd pleasers tonight. It will be interesting to see how the new, untested material will hold up to these old standards.
There’s action on the floor now, and we’re told the band has managed to line up not one, but two replacement openers—both buskers pulled off Whyte Avenue and offered a spontaneous opportunity to perform. These openers, Drew Donald and Paul each performed brief but impassioned sets, riling up the audience and setting the stage for the main act.
As Lutra Lutra take the stage and offer a congenial greeting to the close-knit crowd, there is a surge of excitement on the floor, and attendees push to the front, settling into place for the show.
The set opens with several new songs—each maintaining the spot-on precision and witty lyrics the band is fast becoming known for. When ‘Miser Remedy’ hits—the first familiar song of the set—the audience is moved by a fresh energy—eagerly bouncing their heads and swaying along to the tenacious and contagious beat. This was followed shortly by ‘FOOL’, and ‘Culture and Wine’, and the crowd’s enthusiasm continued to grow as the band delivered their signature blend of technical expertise and indefatigable swagger.
The newer songs in the set showed great promise, and as I gazed about the bar, I got a sense of eager anticipation—the fans taking in each note and word with the enthusiastic attention of lovers long sundered.
While the new songs may not have brought quite the same energy to the set as the older, more familiar ones did, it was clear that Lutra Lutra’s new LP will be hotly anticipated as the band continues to deliver stellar live performances and hold true to their unique signature style.
-Left to Right: Will Smith, Denis Frigon, Katrina Burrows, Garreth Burrows-
The penultimate song of the night, the EP closing ‘What We’ve Lost’, was a special treat. The infectious tune is a natural showcase for front-man Garreth’s easy-going charisma, and the audience was quickly whipped into a raucous fervour as the band brought the show to a closing crescendo.
Lutra Lutra put on one hell of a tight show tonight. The older songs from their debut EP garnered a great deal of enthusiasm from their dedicated fans, and if tonight’s performance is any indication, their upcoming LP is sure to be a treasure of new classics. Just like the bar they played in, Lutra Lutra proved that the charm and style they’ve become known for will not be lost as they head into the future.
If you’ve yet to catch Lutra Lutra live or want to grab their EP for yourself (and you should, on both counts), be sure to visit their website (Link) for more information.
-Brad OH Inc.