CMW April 20, 2017 – She-Devils & Frigs at Costume House
With ethereal vocals that quickly merged into earth-shattering harmonies, this band took the crowd to another planet sonically. Thanks to some soaring synth lines and glistening guitars there was a dreamy quality that was brought back to earth with the shaking drums and the power their dynamic synergy had. Thanks to the time the band has clearly put into making not only great songs but a great set, they gave a memorable performance worthy of such a stacked lineup of artists.
While almost seeming like aliens when they took the stage in a silver raincoat the Montreal duo had no trouble wooing the crowd in the small space. Their retro club meets future art-pop sound was cool beyond imagination, making their controlled and dignified delivery all the more appropriate. Singer Audrey’s minute sways and stares off into the crowd were both intriguing and haunting, adding to the overall moody but endlessly interesting aesthetic of their show. With sounds both oddly familiar and abrasive, it felt like meeting someone all over again.
Closing on the unreal, visceral performance of these four, it was clear how they have come so far. Bria’s delivery was so in-your-face it was almost frightening, reminiscent in parts to Kathleen Hanna but strangely different, all while playing guitar (sometimes even using her microphone to strum). While much of the set was so brutally raw, with lyrics directed right at the crowd, it was almost unreal when Bria came down and walked up and down the front of the crowd. Second time around she grabbed all the cord she could and ran with her mic to the back of the room, creating a pit while shaking and thanking fans. Bringing the pit to the front the band delivered a set so intimate for a noise-punk band that it was surreal, making for one of the most consistently solid showcases of the festival so far.
CMW April 20, 2017 – Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2 & Madeline Kenney at The Great Hall
Seattle native Madeline Kenney is one of a select few selected by Chaz Bundick’s Carpark Records offshoot Company Records. Bundick has also lended his production skills for her upcoming Signals EP, but that is seemingly where their similarities end. Kennedy’s live show is sparse and tense and revolves around propulsive looped beats, synth affected voices that add a dream like fuzz, and distorted discordant guitar work which all are wonderful, but still do not distract from Kenney’s own voice, which swings from quiet and warm to a soulful sharp blast sometimes over the course of one verse or chorus line.
Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2-
Chaz Bundick (aka Toro Y Moi) and his new pals The Mattson 2, who together create new group Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2 wowed the audience with their jam style performance. With their set clocking in at just over an hour in length, the band incorporated the jazz elements The Mattson 2 are known for with traditional elements of rock and funk. These songs take a psychedelic twist especially when played live, with the band continually upping the tempo and including extended outros throughout. The psych-jazz throughout was received with rapturous applause over the course of the night, with the biggest applause saved for single “JBS”, which drops all the electronics and jazz for a much more straight forward rendition of driving 1970’s psych rock. Towards the end of the evening, opener Madeline Kenney joined the band onstage and hopped on keys, allowing Bundick to jump on his Hoffner Bass as well as provide complimentary harmonies to Bundick’s lackadaisical vocals.
CMW April 20, 2017 – Japanese Breakfast & Heaven For Real at The Silver Dollar Room
The Silver Dollar was nearing capacity as Japanese Breakfast took the stage for the first of their three night stay in Toronto. The set was mainly a mix of Psychopomp cuts and new tracks, played “for the first time live” according to leader Michelle Zauner, only for her to come clean and admit the band had given them a run out the night before in Rochester, NY. Japanese Breakfast has a charmingly lo-fi sound, backed up with sweeping synths and undeniably powerful and soaring chorus lines. In contrast to the sound heard on Psychopomp, the music sounds much fuller and is delivered with heft and tight timing. Zauner was notably interactive with the audience, musing about pronunciation of surrounding streets, her lack of knowledge when it comes to marijuana (it was 4/20) and the stories and tales behind many of her songs.
Heaven For Real-
Halifax’s Heaven For Real closed out the night with their late night set at The Silver Dollar. Heaven For Real delivered a set reminiscent of the many of the great lo-fi american bands of the 1990’s, with fractured guitar parts and lead singer Scott Grundy’s quivering and fragmented vocal delivery providing a nervy and hook heavy end to proceedings. The group are hard to pin down, with many of their songs shifting time signature and adding layered jazz inflected guitar work or unexpected fuzzed out feedback. Heaven For Real come at you from all sides, and it can be difficult to take it all in at first. However, once you acclimatize you begin to see the intricacies that have gone into these songs and that is to be appreciated.
Words by Owen Maxwell & Stuart McCardie
Photos by Owen Maxwell