Tag Archives: WL14

WL14 reviews: Cousins @ The Garrison – Feb. 16, 2014

By Tom Beedham

Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 – Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Sometimes it just takes two.

Halifax drummer Leigh Dotey and guitarist Aaron Mangle’s epic drums and guitar duo Cousins closed out the festival to a crowd that took cues from preceding act Greys and moshed to the band’s fuzzy indie rock all throughout the performance.

After a 40-minute set that closed with a new song about the Harper budget, fans weren’t ready to call the festival quits. They cheered relentlessly for more, and after some short time, the band returned to the stage, Mangle asking, “Can we?”

Of course they could.

The reply Mangle got was a simple thumbs up from the sound technician, and the band used the opportunity to play two last songs: The Palm At The End Of The Mind’s “Thunder,” and “Die,” topping off the festival with its first and only encore.

More photos:
Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Cousins @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham
Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.

WL14 reviews: Greys @ The Garrison – Feb. 16, 2014

By Tom Beedham

Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 – Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

When Greys took over the stage The Wet Secrets had cleared for them, they looked like they had plenty of space to work with, though only before they started to play their music. Their own dynamic performance of beat-peppered post-hardcore saw them bouncing around the platform like heated atoms, their conduct infectious enough to stir up the festival’s first mosh pit this year.

When they weren’t doing that, true to the cultural spirit they address in “Drag,” they managed to spend more time asking people why they were skipping a night of new episodes of shows like Girls and True Detective than they did fleshing out further details of a forthcoming album they teased (they just finished writing it, and it’s coming out in June, they said), even dedicating a song to Lena Dunham (no, she wasn’t present).

More photos:
Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Greys @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham
Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.

WL14 reviews: The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison – Feb. 16, 2014

By Tom Beedham

The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 – Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Having just released Free Candy—their 3rd album and follow-up to 2007’s Rock Fantasy—on Feb. 4, Edmonton indie rock outfit The Wet Secrets didn’t need their marching band shtick to keep a packed audience on its toes. Though it didn’t hurt. The band was reaping from the buzz of their new record, but The Wet Secrets are so much more than what’s on wax. Their heavy, furry costumes in tact, they are exuberant live, their music accompanied by fully choreographed concerts. Fans ate up the new material, dancing and singing the chorus lines back to the band, and in some cases, even let out bursts of joy when backing vocalists/horn players Emma Frazier and Kim Rackel pointed them out individually as they sang the title lyrics to “Get Your Shit Together.” Doesn’t sound like the stuff of any other marching band you know, does it?

More photos:
The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham The Wet Secrets @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham
Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.

WL14 reviews: Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison – Feb. 16, 2014

Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 – Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

By Tom Beedham
Lido Pimienta might have played The Garrison back in November for All Toronto’s Parties, but the singer’s live gigs are never doubles of themselves. While that show saw Pimienta poised and performing in more of a headliner capacity, resulting in an invitation to the crowd to start an onstage dance party and Pimienta herself taking a stage dive, the much earlier scheduled Wavelength gig was more about theatrics than vibe dissemination.

Bringing friends and frequent visual collaborators Tough Guy Mountain onstage to decorate the environment with an upside-down Canadian flag, streamers, and the satirical visual brand experiment’s members themselves to provide some lackadaisical Canadian flag waving, at the top of her set Pimienta strolled onto the stage in a trapper hat and red sweater bearing Canada’s trademarked logo, and then—posing as if to sing read lyrics off of her cellphone—Pimienta delivered her own spin on the national anthem, “O KKK Canada.”

Frequently outspoken at concerts, Pimienta will often break to give rants about social and cultural issues, including Stephen Harper’s control over the Canadian government. For the most part, this performance was void of such digressions, no doubt to let the opening skit speak for itself.

It’s not the first time the musician has juxtaposed the country’s name with that of the infamous hate group. Pimienta has made passing remarks about it at previous concerts, and recently tweeted it in a message turning followers on to a CTV news broadcast about a woman, her children, and others who were removed from a Harper visit to Blood Tribe (an Alberta First Nation 200 kilometres south of Calgary) for “tweeting” remarks that were critical of the prime minister’s agenda: to discuss the First Nations Education Act, a controversial new legislation that detractors complain resulted from insufficient consultation with First Nations themselves.

“KKKANADA,” the tweet began, going on to link to the YouTube video in question. “SHAME ON @PrimeMinisterH EVIL REGIME KKKANADA – Our home ON Native Land!”

The rest of the show was more about the music, although Pimienta did break to opine on “dick pics” at one point. But regardless of your position on the separation of Concert & State, the politicking Pimienta does at her Toronto shows is essential to her project. Although frequently gigging in front of white, English-speaking crowds, born in Barranquilla, Colombia, when Pimienta performs she sings entirely in Spanish. The English spoken political asides provide context and (to a degree) protect her music from exoticization. And so it goes to follow that at the very least, paying attention to the banter and respecting it at the same time that you enjoy her music is to get the full listener’s experience. It will not only make you want to move in revolutionary ways, but also make you a better person.

More photos:
Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Lido Pimienta @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.

WL14 reviews: Elaquent @ The Garrison – Feb. 16, 2014

By Tom Beedham

Elaquent @ The Garrison for WL14 - Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Elaquent @ The Garrison for WL14 – Feb. 16, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

For the most part, Wavelength reserved the initial slots at the top of each of the festival’s proper concert lineups for acts that were stylistically divergent from the other performers with which they would share their stages, giving festivalgoers that turned out early a reward both refreshing and unexpected. With Guelph, ON producer Sona Elango’s instrumental hip-hop beat project Elaquent, there was no exception. As audiences filtered into The Garrison’s cavernous concert hall, they stumbled upon a pastiche of diverse sound references to everything from noisy mechanical processes, glitches, 8-bit video games, compressing hydraulics, and lasers, to percolating synths and twinkling atmospheres (think DJ Bucktown meeting Four Tet backstage in a particularly plush green room). And while the set wasn’t a visually engaging performance—for the most part Elango stood stoically with his head down so as to manage the technical processing of his sampled material—those that did show up to realize the fullest worth of their concert passes wandered over to the front of the stage to pay the music the respect and curiosity it deserved.

Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.

WL14 reviews: U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall – Feb. 15, 2014

U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 – Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

By Tom Beedham
Meghan Remy
’s U.S. Girls is not unlike Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails in that they are both the reclusive undertakings of independent, isolated minds. The titles imply plural involvement where in fact there is very little (if any) input coming from outside one singular source. Also not unlike Reznor, apparently, Remy has realized the utility of having a full band on hand to bring things together on a live platform.

Although Remy rounded up an outfit to perform at 961a College Street just back in December, giving further clout to the NIN comparisons, the group that assembled as U.S. Girls this time to play spacey covers of love songs—Paul McCartney and Wings’s “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” among them—for Wavelength Music Festival changed up the format again: this time consisting of Simone TB of Ell V Gore on drums, Tim Westberg of Slim Twig and Smartboys rotating through guitar, bass, and piano duties, and Biblical drummer Jay Anderson on a rattle. So while Remy seems to be open to the idea of opening the doors to other musicians, at the same time, the Feb. 15 gig made it clear she’s not about to become confined to a structure that becomes dependent on a particular lineup.

More photos:
U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham U.S. Girls @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham
Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.

WL14 reviews: Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall – Feb. 15, 2014

Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall – Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

By Tom Beedham
Colin Stetson is well accustomed to tests of sheer endurance. The epic, elephantine sounds he conjures out of his alto and bass saxophones are demanding of not just a seemingly bottomless lung capacity; his avant-garde approach to saxophone sound—he straps a mic to his jugular to amplify a cross-section of his circular breathing (an eerie, atmospheric sound normally so subtle it goes unheard), while additional contact microphones are fitted to his instruments’ bodies to build the percussive sounds of the valve fluctuations into his compositions—further requires a frenetic fingering technique and an aptitude for multi-tasking. It is not a task for those lacking in physical nor mental stamina. 

On Feb. 15, concertgoers at the Polish Combatants Hall were able to witness Stetson perform works from the two Polaris-shortlisted instalments of his New History Warfare trilogy, but with a further twist.

If blood rushing to his head and strategic hyperventilation wasn’t enough, the Wavelength fest upped the ante for Stetson in a way, coupling his literally breathtaking concert performances with another test of fortitude, blasting the overwhelmingly dizzying swirls of colour provided by General Chaos (a.k.a. Stephen Lindsey)—the fest’s go-to light projectionist for 14 years—so that they were cast all over his person and the surrounding stage for the entirety of his set. For any normal person, you’d think that would be a recipe for some kind of hypersensitive implosion, but Stetson was unfazed.

The musician churned out astonishing renditions of tracks like “Judges,” “To See More Light” and “Part Of Me Apart From You” that spread an infectious breathlessness, keeping the entirety of the hall’s audience at a stand still.

The audience hung on every note—making interruptive peeps only to cheer on the markedly technical moments of numbers like his set opening extended version of “Among the Sef”—until each song was closed, responding with uproariously jubilant furor when Stetson broke after each song to switch back and forth between sax rigs.

During those breaks, Stetson was offhand and casual with the audience, cracking wise about how about how it was nice to be back in the “so apologetic” Toronto. And while he didn’t acknowledge the General Chaos surrounding him, he was markedly thrown off when he noticed the live modular synth projection Hard Science had been shooting onto the adjacent wall, live streaming Stetson’s every move as though visualized by a colourfully scrambled cable channel.

“In what year did it become okay to put sax on a wall?!”

More photos:
Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Colin Stetson @ Polish Combatants Hall - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Colin Stetson setlist
“Among The Sef”
“Judges”
“A Dream Of Water”
“High Above A Grey Green Sea”
“Who The Waves Are Roaring For”
“To See More Light” (alto)
“Part Of Me Apart From You”

Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.

WL14 reviews: Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall – Feb. 15, 2014

By Tom Beedham

Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 – Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

When Nick Sewell declared multiple times throughout his band’s set that “We are Biblical,” the bass wielding frontman seemed to do so not just as a means of informing the audience whom to ask about at the merch table, but also as an adjective for the group’s grandiose approach to the aggressive technical riffage it clearly prides itself on. He might have had better luck elsewhere, however.

Although Biblical had amassed a small contingent of head banging listeners at the front of the crowd partway through its set, the band seemed to turn more away than it attracted. Performing on a bill featuring projects more inclined towards challenging traditionalized modes of musical and social conduct, perhaps the macho coding Biblical routes the aesthetic of both its live posturing and its muscly take on stoner rock and face melting “metal” was what did it, but it wasn’t long into the band’s set that interest (and the audience with it) waned.

It’s not as though Sewell was oblivious to the situation, though. He baited the eye rollers with a claim halfway through his set with a statement jesting that the band would have just two more 25-minute songs and then it would be over. It was still hard to tell if he was just joking or exaggerating the reality of the situation.

More photos:
Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Biblical @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham
Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.

WL14 reviews: Gambletron @ Polish Combatants Hall – Feb. 15, 2014

Gambletron @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 - Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Gambletron @ Polish Combatants Hall for WL14 – Feb. 15, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

By Tom Beedham
When Lisa Gamble first addressed those gathered at the Polish Combatants Hall on Saturday it made for what was likely the only moment throughout the artist’s entire set that made immediate sense to everyone in attendance.

“Hi, I’m Gambletron, and I’m gonna do this backwards and thank you before I do anything,” said Gamble, her voice crinkled by the static of the portable P.A. system she spoke through.

Backwards indeed. The way Gamble approaches music with her Gambletron project is less as a musician and more as an explorer of the relationship shared between space and sound. In fact, “backwards” might be too linear a descriptor for what Gambletron is.

As it was presented to Wavelength Music Festival, Gamble’s setup was an interactive noise environment that forced people to reconsider the conventional notions of a concert setting. Positioned on the floor of the hall itself, Gamble had arranged a myriad of boom boxes, a table of modified electronic toys, and even a knitted wire structure somehow modelled into an effective theremin of sorts.

Beginning as a screaming wall of discordant noise and feedback, the long-form improvised piece later evolved into a dance party-ready jam that, ahem, climaxed with a pretty selective sample of Azealia Banks’s “212.”

As curious as it was to most in the ranks, all the analogue electronic experimenting seemed to make a convincing argument suggesting a return to a world of rabbit ears—though alien and technologically “regressive”—might not be so bad.

Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.

WL14 reviews: DIANA @ Adelaide Hall – Feb. 14, 2014

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

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

By Tom Beedham
“We come from here, which is nice,” DIANA frontwoman Carmen Elle told the crowd at Adelaide Hall in earnest on Feb. 14. She went on to explain she finds herself bragging about the city’s music scene when the band is abroad.

DIANA has had some time off from hometown gigs since an extensive international tour bracketing the release of its 2013 debut Perpetual Surrender brought it back to Toronto Sept. 26, so there was no surprise to see plenty of smiling faces awaiting the band’s Wavelength performance. The band didn’t come to Wavelength bearing any new material, and they weren’t without their flaws—a miscued sample fully derailed “That Feeling” mid-song, leading Elle to declare, “This is Y2K, people. This is not an exercise. It is not a drill. Stock up on bottled water,” before the problem was resolved and the band could run through the track from the bridge onwards—but no one seemed irked by any of this.

Instead, the audience was content to celebrate an album it’s had proper time to process, a sentiment made clear by plenty of listeners caught singing along at any given point in the set. Or maybe—as Elle suggested they do at the show—they just wanted to “get desperately drunk on music. And then puke in the cab on the way home. Musical puking.” But either way, they all seemed confident DIANA would deliver. And they did.

More photos:
DIANA @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham DIANA @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham DIANA @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham DIANA @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham DIANA @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham DIANA @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham DIANA @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham DIANA @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham DIANA @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham DIANA @ Adelaide Hall for WL14 - Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

DIANA setlist:
“Strange Attraction”
“Perpetual Surrender”
“Anna”
“That Feeling”
[Instrumental interlude]
“Foreign Installation”
“New House”
“Born Again”

Originally published by Aesthetic Magazine.