The Gig: Volcano Playground, Ostrich Tuning, Mausoleum (presented by The New Noise Live)
Where: The Garrison, Toronto, ON, Canada
When: 13 October 2011
In One Word: Trenchcoats
On a Thursday night in October in Toronto I spent about 7 hours out on the town, hopping around bars and venues seeing a bunch of different bands. Of all that, two bands and about thirty minutes of music were actually worth talking about and made the evening worthwhile. After stopping off at Shanghai Cowgirl, Bovine Sex Club and Cherry Cola’s for various degrees of shoulder-shrugging at Indie Week 2011 showcases, I arrived at the Garrison on Dundas West. I came to see one of my local faves, Volcano Playground, but arrived in time to see Ostrich Tuning finishing their set. Fellow Music Vice writer Natascha Malta was among a crowd who all seemed to be absorbed in various degrees by OT’s set; a lone girl dancing at the front being the most into it. I was pulled in straight-away by their music which is deep, pensive and with a smoky grittiness. Stare-at-the-floor cool sounds with a real vibe. The guitar was reminiscent of Black Rebel Motorcycle, while the drummer battering his toms added to the immediacy of the music. It was only a ten minute experience but that was enough to elicit some happy buzzes in my brain.
I’ll be looking out for future gigs by they Ostrich Tuning. They are a Toronto based four piece, except Ami (drums/bass/vocals) who is from Austin TX, but is living here for the time being. Band member Ian McPhedran says they are currently finishing their second album which will come out in the near future on the Optical Sounds label.
Continuing the vibe inside The Garrison, Toronto four-piece Volcano Playground delivered the shoe-gazing and ceiling-staring grooves that I’m so fond of. Post-punk influences are rich, but the music is not all black and white, monotone drone – if you let your social guard down for a moment, you may even find yourself dancing to it. The only problem was it was all over far too soon. It was a really short set; that’s a compliment as much as a criticism. I just really wanted to hear more new songs and just more in general. “Waiting”, with that fantastic, driving keyboard melody, is a true underground anthem; but this is old material and it was played early on during their set. By the end of their eight songs, I was left wanting.
The final band at the Garrison were buzz-kill merchants of the first degree. Mausoleum played awful new-wave rip-offs while two of the four band members stood on stage sweating in trenchcoats. I mean seriously, trenchcoats? The singer looked like a bloody trout as he sweated and wriggled inside his big jacket. Everything about this band came across as phoney. After a few songs there was one with a heavier intro which I attempted to force myself to like and get into, but it was no use. This was a farce, so a prompt exit was made. You may want to avoid these endorphin killers.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice