Rounding off their short stint of tourdates in London, Canada’s The Wilderness of Manitoba played a great and varied show at London pub The Slaughtered Lamb on Wednesday night. With the general demographic wide, from twenty somethings through to bearded aging folkies it’s clear to see this five-piece have grown quite a following on our shores, following successes at 2010’s Camden Crawl and End of the Road festival. Their warm tones and vibrant energy fitted perfectly with the Clerkenwell venue which could pretty much pass for a living room – carpeted and strewn with comfy armchairs – although on this particular evening it was packed out and little cooler that a sauna.
From banjo led numbers such as opener ‘Summer Fire’ they lilt and build with rich vocal harmonies constructed from four of its five members, and an array of sounds almost unheard but still effective in creating an almost celestial undertow to their sound. Scott Bouwmeester’s singing bowls featured heavily throughout with varying effect, while the scraping of chairs on the main bar room floor above added its own quirky accompaniment to Manitoba’s often ghostly campfire songs. ‘St Petersburg”s atmospheric brushing of symbols and stirring cello accompaniment further added to the shades of dark and light the band can cast from one song to the next.
Covering a wide scope of tempos in their works from the solemn ‘Hermit’, through to the more raucous numbers such as the current Orono Park EP’s ‘Dreamcatchers’, a cover of ‘Evening’, a song penned in the ’60s by one member’s mother, and eventually an encore closer of Timber Timbre’s ‘Demon Host’, The Wilderness of Manitoba harboured energy and emotion within a natural, unique sound that proves the creativity of this modern folk outfit and the places they are leading the genre.
Live Show: Yale St 14 July 2010