WL14 reviews: Matrox @ Adelaide Hall – Feb 14, 2014

By Tom Beedham

Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 – Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

The conceit Matrox offers at once in lieu of a “proper” band biography and in favour of a successful PR mythos is entertaining to digest: it is (or perhaps was) composed of robots sent from another planet (Planet Matrox) to colonize the people of Earth. Whether or not they intend to stay the course on that mission is less apparent; they seem to like the local colour, taking to Toronto’s local independent music scene to give scheduled concert performances.

Of course, the reality of the situation is that this is a synth-oriented trio composed of entirely human members, counting Alt Altman (Digits) among them. And when the group played Adelaide Hall last night for WL14, the suspension of disbelief Matrox requests was less simply maintained.

Although Matrox wandered onto the stage fully clad in its homemade robot gear and the mystique that comes with it, the opening of its performance was marred by a technical difficulty that ultimately forced the band to remove its helmets out of desperation to fix the glitch, fiddling with things like patch cords in a way that was all too human.

While the setback was temporary—resulting in a five-minute set delay at most—and the performance that followed was as stimulating as some of the showcases the group has already gigged at (All Toronto’s Parties, Long Winter, etc.), it also forced the audience to absorb another, entirely different, truth: this is a Toronto band mimicking a colonization outfit that is seeking to adopt the local culture as its own, absorbing attention at concerts first and foremost for its token “alien” idiosyncrasies. Everything from Matrox’s instruments—an arsenal of Korg and Behringer synths, a saxophone, and sound samples of revving motorcar engines—to its tendency to position itself onstage in a line à la Kraftwerk, is a farcical “appropriation.”

So, yes: Matrox’s set showed people that this group is more than just robot rock.

More photos:
Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham
Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Matrox @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham
Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.

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About Tom Beedham

Tom Beedham is a Canadian writer and photographer whose work focuses on independent culture, experimental art, DIY communities, and their relationship to the mainstream. He has reported on a spectrum of creatives ranging from emerging acts to the definitive voices of cultural movements. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. He has contributed features to Exclaim!, NOW, A.Side (formerly AUX), Chart Attack, and VICE publications Noisey and THUMP, and has appeared as a correspondent on Daily VICE. Tom is also a co-organizer and curator of the inter-arts series Long Winter, for which he has overseen the publication of an online blog and print newspaper-style community publication, and, in collaboration with Lucy Satzewich, implemented harm reduction strategies for safer event spaces. From 2006-2012, he was Editor-in-Chief of Halton, ON -based youth magazine The Undercroft and served as an outreach worker for parent organization Peer Outreach Support Services and Education (POSSE) Project. He was also a DIY concert organizer in his hometown Georgetown, ON in the mid-2000s.

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