Lab Coast // In Photos

Finally! Canadian band Lab Coast are set to drop their first-ever official UK release. And just to make sure you’ve got the message they are playing The Great Escape festival this month.

This is damn good news for anyone who’s a fan of the prolific Calgary band and their indie weirdness. Merging both hi-fi and lo-fi approaches with the underrated art form of catchy harmonies and kooky song titles the band have whittled down their favourite 16 songs to get you acquainted.

The retrospective project was overseen by Faux Discx owner Dan Reeves, he says, as a showcase for their highly refined ability to consistently knock clever, catchy pop songs out of the park. He’s got a point. And the compilation comes out just a week before they hit Brighton for the festival. Nice timing.

But if you can’t make their May 19th or 20th gigs on the South Coast, no matter. Head on down to the Shacklewell Arms in Dalston on May 22nd and fill your boots with their hook-laden guitar pop.

Lab Coast have been honing their skills since 2008 from their basement studio in Calgary. The song writing team of singer David Laing and multi-instrumentalist Chris Dadge (Chad VanGaalen, Bug Incision, Samantha Savage Smith) revel in their DIY analogue productions which are being constantly tweaked and refined.

But when you catch them onstage, their richly textured pieces – think Guided by Voices, if you may – are ably brought to life by Sammie Smith (aka Samantha Savage Smith), Henry Hsieh (Cold Water, Crack Cloud), and Darrell Hartsook (Prenup, Sissys).

To get you up to speed with the Canadian mavericks ahead of The Great Escape we asked the band to share a bit of their lives. And they rose to the challenge superbly by capturing a fortnight of their Canadian tour last month – complete with the humorous (or creepy) back stories behind the snaps. Take a peek.

We woke up to this weather, which sadly not uncommon April weather in Calgary. We figured it would be gone by the time we got home, but we were sadly mistaken.

Played a killer DIY show in Lethbridge on a farm on an acreage near the outskirts of town. Sam and Henry are pictured here.

Sam on the streets of Regina.

After Lethbridge, Regina, and Thunder Bay, we hit the massive chunk land that is the Canadian Shield. Shows can be sparse here and we were in a hurry to get east, so many hours of driving ensued, peppered with a few moments of beauty. (L-R: Laing’s shadow, Smith, Bourne)

Our next stop was a killer all ages show in Sudbury at dyed-in-the-wool metal venue The Asylum, complete with Korn/Limp Bizkit tribute band playing the next week, and tons of show posters displaying nearly indecipherable band name logos. Opener Pastec Palace was giving off some serious Drag City folk-rock vibes. Merch table view.

After the show at the Asylum, we stayed upstairs in a supremely creepy loft space.

Out and about in Sudbury.

Next up was Montreal, home to many wonderful Calgary ex-pats, and a bunch of really amazing food. Here is Dadge at the must-hit AA diner in St. Henri, enjoying a simple, perfect, decidedly un-artisinal bowl of classic poutine. Not pictured: the toastie, a hot dog in grilled white bread with coleslaw, aka the perfect addition to this dish.

Our very own bubble boy David Laing took in an exhibit at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

And continuing on with our food tour of Montreal, no trip would be complete without a stop at St-Viateur Bagel, with cream cheese and smoked salmon spread, natch.


In Ottawa, we played a two-venue double-show thanks to the great Debaser promotions and Ottawa Explosion. Here’s a shot of old ex-west coast pals, the killer band Fountain at Zaphod’s, sounding funkier than ever, and lookin’ sharp, too.

And our old Calgary pals in Un Blonde were typically amazing, radiating a kind of serene intensity, and sounding like absolutely no one else around. This is from our show at the legendary Drones.

And finally, we made some new friends from Australia/Tasmania on this trip: the lovely, charming, and melodic-as-hell QUIVERS. Here they are at a June Records (check it out in Toronto) in-store we played together, the final show of the tour, with June head honcho Ian on the board.—

The Great Escape returns to Brighton on May 18th-20th