Beams w/ Loon Choir & Jose Contreras @ The Horseshoe 1/29/2015

Beams celebrated the release of their latest 7″ The Gutters and the Glass last night at The Horseshoe.
As I arrived, José Contreras (from By Divine Right) was already midway through his set. The singer songwriter delivered tunes from last year’s solo self-titled album. Between songs he had light-hearted banter before diving into songs that mentioned things like a slaughter-house studio. The beautiful “Silver Thread” closed off his set.
Contrastingly, 9 person band Loon Choir braved the snow storm (they are from Ottawa) and delivered a fun contemporary folk pop set. The lead singer was full of strange antics including a megaphone. He’d tell stories, start a rowing motion, answer his phone mid set, pull the contents out of the wallet and ask the audience if they had a protractor. None of these things had a real explanation, but it was all fun and entertaining to watch. The energy as they played all their hits including “All Boats Don’t Rise” was infectious. I almost thought that would be pretty hard to follow, but Beams proved me wrong.
Beams kicked their set off with “The Way We Run”, the first of two tracks off their latest 7″. It almost seemed like it was a competition for most people on stage per band that night as they also held a large number at 7. Their ensemble featured, banjo, mandolin, lapsteel and occasionally a shaker made out of a small Pringles container. Since the EP/7″ was technically 2 songs they pulled favourites from 2013’s Just Rivers including “Be My Brother”, “How Wonderful”. The second song of the 7″, “Black Shadow” was left towards the end which prompted an encore which included a medley of the Britney Spear’s classic “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and Talking Head’s “Psycho Killer.” The encore alone made leaving the house during a snowstorm totally worth it.
If you haven’t seen Beams video for “Black Shadow” featuring shadow puppets, it is a must: