The Besnard Lakes played O’Brien’s – 6/30

Canadian psych-rockers The Besnard Lakes returned to Boston last month for an O’Brien’s gig with fellow Northerners Blessed.

Is it uncouth to admit that for a minute there, I had The Besnard Lakes confused with Bardo Pond? Hear me out: names that start with “B,” affiliated with bodies of water, both psychedelic in nature…it’s not that massive a leap. Regardless, the two bands are very much different entities, and while I did feel a twinge of disappointment upon realizing that Bardo were not making an appearance in Allston this year, the band that actually was playing quickly made up for it.

The Lakes are a long-running project hailing from Montreal and specializing in epic, shimmering songs that conjure a sense of vastness and wonder. Their records are great, but live is really the way to hear music like that. They brought a whole lot of it to a small but dedicated weeknight crowd, playing a generous set on a rare two-band bill at O’Brien’s. Even with their light show slightly hampered by Boston’s maddening smoke machine ban, the set was a full sensory experience that left me eager to catch them again.

Openers Blessed put on a great show too, executing a colorful brand of technical art-punk. Their 2019 LP Salt is worth a spin if that’s your jam.

Scroll for photos of both sets below.