Ladies and Gentlemen: Austra

October 6th, 2011

Austra – The Bowery Ballroom – October 5, 2011

Opening with an unusually serene piece on the keyboard, lead singer Katie Stelmanis welcomed everyone to the weird and wonderful world of the Canadian New Wave band Austra. With vocals that wouldn’t be out of place in a church combined with songs that steer more toward electronic New Wave than anything else, Austra’s live touring band is a sight and sound to behold. With five additional people onstage— including twin backing singers and a sax-keys player who graced the stage in short shorts—other than Stelmanis, it was hard to know where to focus your attention.

The backing singers, Sari and Romy Lightman, had hypnotic choreography and moved effortlessly with the music. That combined with Stelmanis’s haunting vocals and fantastic songs, like “Lose It” and “Darken Her Horse,” made for a great show last night at The Bowery Ballroom. Austra’s debut album, Feel It Break, and live set, equally ominous and exciting, are sure to grab hold of you and make you take notice. No doubt the band will play a venue twice this size very soon. —Lauren Glucksman