Real Live Action

Art D’Ecco

w/ Mu, Sex With Strangers

Fortune Sound Club; February 16, 2017

Lili Watson
Image Courtesy of
Fortune Sound Club

The idea of costume as a means to shed one skin and don another in order to connect with another person is no new thing to art, but its presence was nevertheless heartwarming at Fortune Sound Club with the triple threat bill of Art D’Ecco, Mu and Sex With Strangers.

The Vancouver five-piece Sex With Strangers brushed off the late start by barreling into their set, with frontman Hatch Benedict’s theatricality a satisfying blend between Jack Black’s antics and Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands’ sincerity. This energy was most strong in their song “Momento,” off their 2016 EP, Space In Time, produced by Vancouver’s prolific Jason Corbett — who was also the guest DJ for the evening. Fast-paced, maniacal and with fits lying between rage and pleasure, Sex With Strangers wrapped up their half hour with a cover of INXS’s dance-inducing “Don’t Change.”

After a quick mood change, courtesy of fog machines and some pink plastic draping, Francesca Belcourt and Brittney Rand of Mu took to the stage dressed like rhinestone cowgirls, jokingly stating, “new wig, who dis.” Dream pop to the core, the two provided a set with all the right vocal layers as two sparkly, dewy-faced backup dancers sat at the edge of the stage, seemingly taking in the audience as if they were universe. After announcing that the duo would be taking a hiatus and the evening would likely be the last time to see them for a while, they stated, “let’s all dance and die together,” ending their time on a bittersweet but nonetheless delivering note.

By the time Art D’Ecco hit the stage, the venue felt fuller, darker and more apt for the heady and driving ballad that Art and his band launched into immediately. Building anticipation with Spoon-like synths, they broke into “Let’s Go Home Together,” one of the tracks off his 2016 full length debut Day Fevers. Lying somewhere between Marc Bolan and Bradford Cox, Art’s stage presence delivers a kind of slinky serenade that wouldn’t be out of place at a haunted high school prom, laden with glamour and seedy insinuations. Towards the end of the evening, Art spoke to the camaraderie in the room of local talent. Offering up a sentiment of how close he felt to everyone, he quipped, “alright, let’s fucking dance,” as his band sprang into the synth anthem “I’ll Never Give You Up.”

Whether it’s a pageboy wig, a cowboy hat fringe or a snarling on-stage personality, a costume can allow for an anonymity that is liberating to the connection between performer and audience. Where a outstretched hand may have not been before, the costume gives way to a sense of “we’re all weird here,” a sentiment that was definitely embraced with vigour and affection on that Friday night at Fortune.