Who: Odd Ones
Where: My Drunken Uncle, Toronto
When: 22 April 2016
In one word: Banging
Odd Ones opened the show with a usual kick ass set. Although I’m lucky enough to call the band members friends, I can confidently say without bias how amazing they are. Their musical style combines elements of metal, hard rock, punk in a funky mix. The wildly entertaining stage antics and vocal range of theatrical frontwoman Jeanette alone are enough to keep any crowd intrigued. Time defying guitar solos, constantly travelling bass lines, and unconventional drumming create a musical genre and performance style specific to Odd Ones, definitely worth witnessing if you have the opportunity.
The drummer from Odd Ones did double duty in the next set with Mirellia, who blew away the audience with a blast of refreshingly heavy metalcore. Rather than vocals just switching between cleans and screams, the two were able to harmonize very well together. The bands heavy vocalist flew around the stage and off stage where he stirred up mosh pits. Their original songs seemed full of tight rhythmic verses interrupted by explosive crashes into a chorus or breakdown, and failed to drop momentum.
Earth’s Yellow Sun is an inventive progressive metal band with a line up like no other. Members include a bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, drummer, and baritone, alto and tenor saxophones. The sound is reminiscent of Animals As Leaders and BadBadNotGood with the spontaneous rhythmic nature of Igor Stravinsky – not a combination of things I can say I’ve heard before. They opened the show with a couple of older tracks and then played their new record Infernal Machine in its entirety. Their set was laced with extreme theatrical build-ups and technically astounding breakdowns in unusual time signatures. When the three saxophonists weren’t playing, they were enthusiastically head banging and had the stage presence of three vocalists. The baritone player even used his saxophone as an air guitar. “We all went to Humber in the same year. In fourth year, we pitched the idea of a progressive metal ensemble. We did something a little different – metal with saxophones so Humber endorsed it” drummer Julian replied when I asked about how the unique ensemble came together.
New Design followed Earth’s Yellow Sun and, although being markedly different in musical style and ensemble, were equally engaging. All members of the band shouted lyrics and moved with the songs. Clean lead guitar melodies typical to ‘emo’ music accompanied by ambient pauses created a great sense of depth and atmosphere, which added a lot to the overall impact of choruses and instrumental ramblings. Group vocals really amped up the emotion shared on stage. Both guitarists and the drummer frequently overlapped seamless vocal melodies.
The night of a band’s new record release is perhaps the most exciting time to see them. It is the breaking of anticipation surrounding a new beginning. The audience is able to witness the start of a new chapter before their eyes. For the band, the taboo over the new material is gone, and the excitement and energy brought along with it leads the show. Similarly, when a band writes music with heart, they live that emotion on stage. Members of Red Handed Denial were obviously at a peak of emotion already as the show marked the release of their new long-awaited record, Wanderer. After playing a few explosive tracks from earlier albums, Red Handed Denial introduced Wanderer.
“Wanderer is about someone who let their own darkness consume them” said vocalist Lauren Babic. She described the album as an emotional journey, and their performance exhibited it’s climax. Babic’s incredibly clear, raw vocals and astonishingly intricate and tightly wound instrumentals were absolutely captivating. At one point, a horse masked crowd surfer appeared but that was the only thing sensational enough to take the crowds focus from the stage. Horse dude, if you’re reading this, please make an appearance at my band’s next show. Please.
Each unpredictable breakdown got the room moving, and audience members screamed lyrics back at the band. It’s always uplifting to see fans that know songs off an album that hasn’t even been released yet. Lauren thanked the crowd many times and stated how overwhelmed they were with the turnout. My Drunk Uncle is a small venue with good acoustic quality, and it was packed for the show. That set up is always a good time. You hear and see everything and the band’s performance is always more intimate in a smaller space. The only downside is that it was practically a rotisserie oven in there. I told Lauren after the show that I thought her vocals were unreal, but the fact that she wore a sweater and full pants for the entire performance without even breaking a sweat also amazed me.
Overall this line up (especially Red Handed Denial) absolutely blew me away. All of these bands are remarkable on their own, and seeing them all together in one night was a blessing to my senses. If given the chance to see any of these bands separate or together in the near future I will definitely take it and so should you.
© Robyn Bond, Music Vice
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