Touring behind its sophomore longplayer Try 😉, Edmonton-based indie rockers Faith Healer performed at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday March 6, turning in a solid set during which the band members were clearly enjoying themselves.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Jessica Jalbert held forth with a graceful, relaxed, and at times humble presence as the five-piece touring version of the group focused heavily on songs from Try 😉. Tracks from that album sounded great live, and guitarist Renny Wilson (the other half, with Jalbert, of the Faith Healer studio band, and also producer of the new album) played noticeably different solos from his recorded ones. The rest of the group gave him plenty of space to take his solos wherever he wanted to go both musically and physically, as he sometimes performed a playful wiggling dance during them.
Jalbert sang two of the songs from Try;-) accompanied by backing tracks, which she referred to as an experiment. I’m assuming this is because the songs, including “Sterling Silver,” feature multilayered keyboard tracks that the band chose not to rearrange or recreate for live performances. The Portland audience had no problem with this, with some fans calling out that it sounded beautiful.
After superb renditions of such songs from Try;-) such as the touching title track, the energetic “Might As Well,” and the fuzzy, trippy “Light of Loving,” Faith Healer ended its main set with some tracks from its first album, Cosmic Troubles. The Tuesday night audience was enthusiastic, and Jalbert and Wilson both commented on how nice the fans were, and how professional the Doug Fir Lounge venue and crew were.
Jalbert thanked the audience for sticking around to watch Faith Healer after opening act Reptaliens’ set, but I feel she was underestimating how many people were there to specifically see Faith Healer. It is true, though, that Portland-based dreamscape band Reptaliens had a good-sized and rabid fanbase in attendance. The group had just wound up a national tour, so this was its first live show in front of a home audience in some time.
Reptaliens, led by the husband-and-wife team of Cole and Bambi Browning, put on a captivating performance of rock music that is simultaneously surreal, artistic, mysterious, and accessible. The quartet put on a mesmerizing set, assisted by a dancer who wore different masks for each appearance, including a lizard head.