Saturday, 31 October 2015

Nots | Joanna Gruesome | Sala Rossa

Show: Nots + Joanna Gruesome + more
Venue: Sala Rossa, Montreal
Date: Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Enjoy last minute decisions. Had not planned on attending that evening. A friend I had meant to go with fell asleep at home (has a kid, completely reasonable) and am saving money to pay bills (bills are unreasonable).

Changed my mind.

At the Sala Rossa on Saint-Laurent boulevard. Cup of joe in me, alert for Joanna Gruesome and Nots. Or almost.

Joanna Gruesome at the Sala Rossa.

JG is awesome despite having technical issues throughout the set. Very good performers, six on stage. Better live than recorded. Then again, haven't found anything recorded recently with the new band member (or band members, am all mixed up)*. The guitar player on the left with the mix-matched socks and "Personal Best" t-shirt was the most loquacious when it came time to divert us from their technical problems. Mentioned a) the beauty of watching a band play live many times in a row and b) touring is much more fun when you're drinking. A beautiful singing voice. Soothing when everything else is loud (loud in a good way). A killer contrast. Kate Stonestreet in the middle (Alanna McArdle replacement) is the one that lets out screams with a heart, only we couldn't hear much. Sound on mic not loud enough. "Two of us aren't from Wales. We're sorry about that." she told us as the set started. The bass player to her left always had his back to us. Still good though, seems he was dancing to the beat. The whole bunch was having fun you know? It makes quite a difference. Was a blast to listen. All that noise (in a good way) and soothing voices.

Nots. Sound check was scary. There was something about lead singer Natalie Hoffmann's screams that made me not want to be the sound check guy. A good set. No long breaks between songs. Just long enough for Hoffmann to take a sip of beer. Alexandra Eastburn on the synths is an added bonus to the music only she looked under some type of influence. How the hell should I know though. It's been 20 years since I've taken any drugs. The self-destructive thing I do nowadays is attend concerts without ear plugs. Anyhow, if you want a good experience at a Nots concert, you stand in the middle and stare at Hoffmann. She'll stare right back you with a dare.

Natalie Hoffmann. Photo Joshua Miller.

* Trying to find their names on the web, they all have Gruesome as a last name. Confusing me all the more.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Protomartyr | Growwing Pains | Fred Thomas

Show: Protomartyr + Growwing Pains + Fred Thomas
Venue: Bar le Ritz PDB, Montreal
Date: Monday, October 12th, 2015

Attended alone as I sometimes do but rarely felt so lonely. An odd Thanksgiving day. Spent it with friends and family, watched the Blue Jays hit home runs. But also waited for a guy I had a few dates with to bring me back my guitar. Whatever we had, it ended abruptly.

Arrived on time (or early one would say). Only a few present. The usual Monday evening at the Ritz. Everything was set up. The crowd was all that was needed. Time will give us that.

The first set, Fred Thomas. Originally from Michigan, just moved to Montreal. Was his first show in this new town. Only him and his guitar.

Fred Thomas

Could've been awful since he wasn't singing much. Half talking, half chanting. Also, no band to back him up. Turns out it wasn't awful at all. Turns out I loved it. Turns out the lyrics were great.

Kind of depressing. Lots of despair. Said, as he presented a song, "I'll keep it kind of short, not so sweet". Could've been the whole set. He gave us a visual on our society not often done in music. Quite refreshing. Am probably not allowed to post lyrics on this page. But he's got a Tumblr site with all the lyrics. You should take a look.

Next set was Growwing Pains. They reminded me of the Black Lips (but doesn't everything remind me of The Black Lips?). Really though, I can't say for sure because all I was doing was staring at the drummer Jake Kmiecik. Somewhat talented you know?

Thinking back, I could've been dancing to their music. Only, the day was starting to get to me.
The crowd was enjoying the live act. Someone continuously screamed "yeah!", wish he had more vocabulary.

Was dead asleep standing up as Protomartyr stepped on stage. Love those guys. Second time at a live show of theirs. Lead singer Joe Casey looks much older than he really is with his suit and posture. One hand in the pocket, the other on the mic.


The lyrics are backed up with exclamations in his voice. Much more essential than any notes used. I wouldn't even care if he were pitchy. Great musicians with him. Gives it a heavy sound with a modern touch. Loved it.

Will try to drink some coffee next time they stop by though. Also will keep myself from ending any type of relationship on the same day.

Thanksgiving turkey