The first time I saw Elephant Stone in Chicago it was a cold, snowy night… in April. This time they came to town with fellow Montreal locals The Besnard Lakes and it was yet again another cold Chicago night. I’ll chalk this one up to our erratic weather and avoid blaming the Canadians for bringing the cold weather with them on tour.

Weather aside, there were warm vibes inside the Empty Bottle and the crowd was treated to an amazing display of psychedelic rock. Here are the photos to prove it:

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Chicago’s Secret Colours are no strangers to the Empty Bottle’s stage but they put on an amazing set as usual. Playing tracks from their latest album Peach and even including a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking”, their set was definitely well-rounded.

However, the highlight for me was their ethereal pop hit “Blackhole”. The song really came to life in a live setting, with lush layers of instruments and loops building up to the softly sung, yet infectious chorus.

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Taking the stage next was the one and only Elephant Stone. Cramming themselves and their gear onto the modest Empty Bottle stage, frontman Rishi Dhir still had enough room to sit and play sitar for a few songs. This was my third time seeing these guys and it was by far my favorite.

The band has the ability to effortlessly drift between heavy psychedelic rock and gorgeous Eastern influenced jams. This time around they focused more on the rock side of their sound and it couldn’t have fit better in this small Chicago bar. They surely gained a few more Midwestern fans after this performance.

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Capping off the night were The Besnard Lakes, a band that has garnered many comparisons to other Montreal acts over the years but is really in a class of their own. I had been listening to each of their 6 or so studio albums/EP’s leading up to the show but that was still not enough to prepare me for the sonic assault of guitars and fog that ensued.

The band is truly something to experience live. Their expertly crafted, shoegaze infused pop songs translate perfectly from their albums and will leave you in awe. The light show was pretty damn cool also. I entered the show that night as a casual fan but left that night as an obsessive “Besnards” fan.

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If you missed it take some solace in the links below and order yourself some great albums from each of these bands (I heard it through the grapevine that everything in the Besnard’s online shop is 20% off for the holidays).

This phenomenal tour heads back to Canada after today but keep an eye out for these great Montreal acts, they’re sure to swing through again next year. And be sure to catch Secret Colours in Chicago once they get back from Austin, TX, where they’re recording some new material that is sure to impress.

The Besnard Lakes Official | Facebook | Twitter
Elephant Stone Official | Facebook | Twitter
Secret Colours Official | Facebook | Twitter

LIVE PHOTOS BY DAN JARVIS