Sunday, December 11, 2005

Wintersleep With Brian Borcherdt
And The Ladies And Gentlemen:
The Attic, Halifax, 10 Dec 2005

Last night, rather than engage in some silly, drunken dance-club bacchanalia, I decided to take in some pretty heavy indie-rawwk action over at The Attic (part of Halifax's infamous Dome super-club complex). I was not disappointed in my choice simply because each act is a force majeure on its own.

The opener, Brian Borcherdt, started this evening off with a mostly quiet one-dude-with-a-guitar set, punctuated with the occasional backup courtesy of members of Wintersleep and The Ladies and Gentleman. The T-dot rep's set reminded me of all those drunken basement parties where one dude with a guitar would play his heart out amongst the noise and clamour of schmoozing imbibers. But at least in his case, people started to take serious notice in the end.

Still on the T-dot tip, The Ladies and Gentlemen took pages out of Pavement, the Mars Volta and the Flaming Lips (with some Can-Rawwk detours to the Tragically Hip and the Broken Social Scene) to offer a nice little train-wreck of a set featuring old-school keyboards, hand-claps and airborne tabourines. The stayed out of the emo deathtrap by channeling all that energy through some decent 4-part harmonies, veteran bassist-frontman Thomas D'Arcy's laid-back energy and Kevin Hilliard's madman presence. I'm quite sure that I recognised a couple of guys in the group from being in other projects around the 'dot, but at least the locals in the venue ate it up.

Headliners Wintersleep, the local heroes of the night, put out the mostest, along with cameos from the opening acts (plus the flying tambourines, BTW) for their fellow Haligonians. Like Brian Borcherdt, Wintersleep has put out a few side-projects to keep themselves busy and fresh. Imagine Ten-era Pearl Jam and cross-breed it with Whale Music-era Rheostatics, and you get a very good show. Paul Murphy's Vedder-meets-Tielli vocals accentuate the bleakness of everyday living while Loel Campbell and Jud Haynes provided the rythmic oomph to the songs. Virtually everyone got in on the act way until last call.

All in all, it was a good night and $15+ well-spent. I recommend seeing any of these acts when possible.

And don't forget to buy their stuff while you're at it, eh?

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