Owen Pallett Is Everyone’s (Final) Fantasy

Okay, that title is bit unfair, since Pallett stopped using video game-inspired moniker prior to the release of his Heartland album in 2010. Perhaps a better choice would be “Fido Fantasy” as Pallett himself quipped at the fido sponsored “Road To Bestival” event at Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret on Thursday. While fixing a technical problem, Pallett humourously extolled on his love-hate relationship with Canadian cellphone companies – while being filmed on smartphones I’m sure – and joked that his slogan for the night would be “get Furious”. (Fido’s current phrase is #getcurious).

As regular readers know, I have often talked about my love fiddle music. While Pallett plays a more violin-style, that doesn’t mean I enjoy any less. He has a very unique way of mashing his plucking, with his looping pedal. It was a bit unfortunate that a micro-cable was broken because for the first half of the show his violin sounded a little warbly and scratchy. Nevertheless, the soft, ethereal timbre of his voice combined with the echoing violin and backing guitar and drums made everyone on the dance floor sway that much more. I say sway, although there was one very white guy being a very white-guy dancer, moving way too fast and hard. Perhaps the mushrooms his was on made him think he was in a mosh pit in the late 1980s.

There’s an old legend that states Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in order to play really good music. (He did practically invent the blues after all). I think Owen’s story is slightly more nuanced. It wasn’t the devil and it’s not rock music, but after Pallett’s Tryst With Mephistopheles he has transformed himself an Oscar-nominated* post-rock God, whose music is stunningly poetic. It is a modern-day symphony. A picturesque day at the beach, where the waves wash over your sandy toes, followed by the sun beating down on the blades of grass as you run through the meadow with your beloved. It is a multi-layered effervescent and futuristic creation. With his music, Pallett brings us all into his fantasy world, while letting us enhancing our own. He makes sweet, sweet music. It’s beautiful.

*Nominated for best Original Score with William Butler for Her


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