Garrison, Toronto ON June 15
Part of the fun of NXNE is seeing bands you know absolutely nothing about. So when a band called Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, who wear red, black and white face paint onstage cross your path, you check them out. Like a Japanese Kiss, the self-described "Noh-wave" seven-piece were as much about the live spectacle as about their music, which oscillated between standard, straightforward rock and doom metal atmospherics. Not surprisingly, the band were better when they practised the latter, incorporating jabs of keyboard and harmonized group vocals into their full-bodied sound. They started weak -- plodding tempos and too-simple drumming did the band no favours -- but by the end, they'd won over the venue, using phrase cycling and repetition to build and release tension.
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