Dusted at the Guelph Green Party Office, April 5. (Photo by Tom Beedham)
Even though his “old” band Holy Fuck made a triumphant (if quietly promoted) return to the stage at February’s edition of Toronto’s Long Winter series, Brian Borcherdt isn’t putting Dusted to bed. The answers to material by Borcherdt that was otherwise incompletely realized when written between shows with Holy Fuck and his solo work, Dusted sees Borcherdt team up with producer Leon Taheny, who carved a reputation producing Owen Pallett’s Final Fantasy albums and has also worked with Ohbijou and the Wooden Sky.
While Borcherdt sang ran his voice and guitar through some heavy feedback, Taheny, who just had Esther Grey between Dusted and the Rituals set he’d played earlier in the night, took on double duties playing drums and synth simultaneously. For a performance that relies on an equipment list that includes overblown amplifiers, the converted Green Party garage made the perfect setting for Dusted’s atmospherically minded offering of fuzzy post-folk.
Esther Grey at the Guelph Green Party Office on April 5. (Photo by Tom Beedham)
Esther Grey have made a tradition of playing Kazoo! Fests, and it’s not hard to see why. Mixing creeping guitar progressions, innocent vocals, and some relaxed drumming that climax in crispy lo-fi jam outs, the group has developed a sound that is both idiosyncratic and self-aware. And here’s a coincidence: Esther Grey played at the Green Party Office garage, and the band began as guitarist Steph Yates and drummer/bassist Tyson Brinacombe’s humble, yard sale-inspired brainchild.
Rituals at the Guelph Green Party Office on April 6. (Photo by Tom Beedham)
Applying ooh-ah-eee-oos to a post-punk aesthetic, Rituals ultimately serve up a crackly kind of surfgaze. At times hazily atmospheric, and at others laying the sludge on thick, it kind of comes off more as a sound experiment than something you want to sit around and rock out too, but in a spacious setting like the Green Party Office’s garage in Guelph, it’s a force you can’t help but pay attention too and absorb. Even if it gives you a light headache, it’s worth taking in.
Scattered Clouds at the Guelph Green Party Office on April 5. (Photo by Tom Beedham)
Positioned somewhere between brooding, jangly no-wave and an artsy kind of horror country, Scattered Clouds are kind of like a falling apart Bauhaus meets the Wild West. While the band boasts a name that echoes weather forecast and they were the second opener to play a five-band show, they shouldn’t be mistaken as anything short of a focal point, lest their peculiar sound should go unobserved.
The While performing from behind a shadow screen at Kazoo! Fest’s Green Party Office pop up venue. (Photo by Tom Beedham)
If you said The While hid behind a screen for their opening slot at Kazoo! Fest’s Guelph Green Party office pop up venue, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. Camera tricks, mood lighting, video, and a shadow screen were all called upon by the band of visual artists to blur the line between themselves and infinity. The special effects made them look bigger than they physically are in terms of headcount and equipment stock, but whether that was as a defense mechanism or just a proper representation of their essence was a debate given legitimacy as they looped not just their visual presence but their instrumentation as well. Adding their visual presence to a foreboding brand of indie folk that relies on a sound mix of foreboding contralto vocals, xylophones, organ, and drums, it was surrealism for your eyes and your ears.