There is something about live music that often doesn’t translate on tape.
Perhaps it’s the collective experience or the spontaneity. Maybe it’s in the bright lights, big speakers and high probability that someone will spill beer on your shoes. But for certain bands, the music is just different live. The sound surrounds and captivates, and the audience feels something headphones or a stereo could never deliver.
Patrick Watson considers itself one of those bands. The Canadian band has found success, even winning one of the premiere Canadian awards, the Polaris Prize with its creates symphonic indie music that shifts between delicacy and resounding power. The band has a sound that can move move chamber-pop to rock seamlessly.
Patrick Watson, the band’s frontman and namesake, has a unique voice that floats through the music, adding an element that is playful, tender and melodic. Now touring the country after the recent release of its album “Adventures In Your Own Backyard,” the band will play Friday at Turner Hall for the “Ten Buck Show” series.
“(The live shows) are the thing I am most proud of,” Watson said. “Whereas CDs are not for everybody, I feel like the shows are an adventure that have all sorts of different things for different people.”
From the band’s inception, it has focused on the experience it creates for audiences.
The members of Patrick Watson’s band first came together nearly by chance. Watson is a classically trained musician whose focus was on composing film scores, but he decided to assemble the band when asked to create songs to accompany a book of photography.
“We thought it would be fun to do the songs live,” Watson said. “So we rented out a 100-year-old vaudeville theatre, and I think people just showed up to see what it would be like. But it worked really well, and people loved it.”
The band then went on to focus on creating more unique shows featuring unconventional multimedia elements. It searched for creative, surprising and innovative ways to connect with the audience.
“We once did a show in a 40-foot inflatable bubble,” Watson said, “and there were hundreds of projectors around us while we played.”
Patrick Watson also played a show in which the images projected behind the band were being shot live during the performance. “We were doing things you just weren’t supposed to do.” Watson said.
But soon Patrick Watson grew in popularity and began to tour around the world.
“We found out that you can’t take that kind of stuff on tour unless you are a big arena act,” Watson said. “But we hope to eventually go back to that.”
And though there are no longer bubbles or projectors involved, the band still invests a focus and energy in creating energetic and unique shows.
Watson has been known for using unconventional instruments, adding a grace to seemingly regular items. In the past the group has played bike chains, musical saws and spoons. Though it is moving away from the strange instruments on its newest album, the performances are always filled with hints of unconventionality.
“We still have marimbas, and our guitarist plays with a toothbrush at times.“ Watson said. “But I think what surprises people the most is the sound we can make with just that many people on stage. We have a really big sound live.”
Patrick Watson comes alive on nights in concert halls, festival grounds and theaters when it plays its joyful and emotive music.
“We’re a very in-the-moment kind of band,” Watson said. “We don’t play exactly the same every night. And I think that it is what people really appreciate. We’re not putting on a show. We’re putting together an evening where we all can get crazy together.”