OM / Daniel Higgs
Il Motore, Montreal, QC, November 19
The oriental influence on occidental music is far from being a recent fad — the aforementioned essay is copiously quoted in Jean-Luc Godard's Sympathy for the Devil — but when embraced in a fully frontal way using "occidental" instruments, the result can be worth attention.
Lungfish's main man Daniel Higgs clearly has an understanding of music that goes above and beyond the symmetrically forged patterns of contemporary pop music. Higgs's playing combines the wise use of drones, octaves and percussive banjo plucks, as an open canvas for his lyrics that are either declaimed, sung or hushed sporadically.
The inherent Middle Eastern quality of his meditative performance at Il Motore had an uplifting might that unfortunately kept being undercut by, first, the fact that a large majority of the crowd did not seem to give a toss about a bearded bard in an oriental jacket. And second, Higgs banjo would not stay in tune, which brings us back to number one, because the Dischord signee (yes, yes, Dischord doesn't have contracts, hence, he can't be a signee) had to politely tell people to lower it down a bit, so he could ultimately finish his set that judiciously did not culminate in an über-theatrical meditative drone.
One could have thought that amped up by a third member — Lichens' Robert A.A. Lowe — OM would have hit the brown note during their opening song. Although Al Cisneros's Rickenbacker did command respect as soon as the ex-Sleep bass player hit the fifth string, the band clearly decided to put their compositional details front and centre rather than hit the fuzz pedal and have the sold-out crowd shake a (back-patched/Chrome-bagged) tail feather.
Moving away from the fuzzed-out riffs, one of the most remarkable details of OM's set was Lowe's use of what seemed to be an octave pedal to replicate the oriental violin sound (think mid-1950s Egyptian chanteuse, not contemporary Apache Indian lookalikes). All in all, nothing to make Hassan-i Sabbah wet his pants, but almost enough to make his ghost pay attention.
ReviewsFeb 23, 2015
Cro-Mags / WithdrawalPark Theatre, Winnipeg MB, February 22
Winnipeg was dealt a relatively short but undeniably heavy dose of hardcore on the coldest Sunday night (so far) of the year. Crossover lege...
ReviewsFeb 05, 2015
Napalm Death / Voivod / Exhumed / Iron Reagan / Black Crown InitiateOpera House, Toronto ON, February 4
The "Through Space and Grind" tour kicked off with a band leaning toward the former, spacey side of things. Perpetual openers Black Crown In...
ReviewsJan 31, 2015
KEN ModeSherbrook Inn, Big Fun Festival, Winnipeg MB, January 30
Despite being known for its punk scene, Winnipeg also has been home to its fair share of ultra-heavy bands. From groups like Kittens, Meatra...
ReviewsJan 09, 2015
Four Year Strong / Comeback Kid / Expire / Handguns / Heart to HeartOpera House, Toronto ON, January 8
The calm before the storm that was brewing outside — which, for the record, held out for the majority of the pop-punk/hardcore whirlwi...