Who: Army Girls, Fresh Snow, Michael Rault, Wish – NXNE show
When: Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Where: The Garrison, Toronto
In One Word: Norrrrrth-by!
Way to whet our appetite, NXNE!
NXNE 2014 is four months away but on Tuesday night in Toronto fans at the Garrison were treated to a taster of things to come. Wish, Michael Hault, Fresh Snow and Army Girls served up four courses of eclectic indie music goodness. Like an average dinner at Winterlicious, it left me hungry for more!
I joined my sketch-show buddy Natascha Malta as we tag-teamed this NXNE gig.
I really enjoyed Fresh Snow’s set. They’re an instrumental band from Toronto who played on stage hidden behind a big white canvas, while projecting pretty coloured patterns. I did wonder at what point they were going to take down the curtain, but as the songs went on, it stayed up while behind the scenes Fresh Snow really let loose. I stood to the side of the curtain and watched with interest as most the crowd looked at the canvas sheet and enjoyed the sounds, while on the other side of the curtain Fresh Snow increasingly got into their music; one guitarist really getting into it, as he thrashed his guitar behind his head, and later fell to his knees and battered his instrument with a tambourine. (Ha! Your dirty mind…) Most of the audience were oblivious to the band’s actions and appearance.
Fresh Snow really layer up some big, moody songs, which go from dark to light and back again, with tons of delay pedal and other guitar FX and keys, built on some post-punk/industrial drumming. And man, their songs go on forever!
Having a barrier between the audience and the band worked tonight for Fresh Snow. I’m not sure if they’ll be able to keep up this aesthetic, but for an introduction to their sound it was the perfect trick, because instead of watching the band, you focused more on the music.
In total contrast were male/female garage rock duo Army Girls, who do not hide behind a bed sheet to perform. Carmen Elle was bold and chatty as she stood in the middle with her mic stand at the edge of the stage. She ripped out some cool blues guitar licks. In between verses, Carmen would let loose and jump around with her hair flailing, or slide back real cool with some slick dance moves in her unbuckled brown leather shoes. Army Girls bring have a wild garage rock vibe that mixes with a vulnerability and sensitivity in Carmen’s lyrics: “Always” and “The Power”, are two of their best songs, and rounded off the set nicely at the end.
Army Girls got a great response. They’re really one to watch. Put them on your radar and catch them at a gig soon.
Read on for Natascha’s re-cap of the night, more NXNE love, all her awesome sketches, and some photographs…
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice