For his second Toronto gig in three months, Alex Giannascoli seemed unprepared for the sold out crowd; when a young girl screamed, "I love you Alex," he shyly thanked her with a blushed expression. Of the few pleasantries he exchanged, the most surprising one praised the normally troublemaking Canadian border guards. Instead, he and his trio really did little more than simply play his growing library of songs.
His white noise-drenched and versatile bedroom pop sounds loud and distorted live, but it really suits songs like the whimsically "fri-endearing" "Harvey" and his forthright love song, "Mary." One wouldn't exactly call him an entertainer at this point, but Giannascoli had his surprises. During DSU's "Icehead" and Trick's "Animals," he went from his charming indolent cadence to a screaming banshee-like howl with remarkable ease.
Ending with a rather epic version of "Hollow" seemed like a fitting way to end things, but when fans called for an encore, he appeased them, coming back out with guitarist Sam Accione for a scream-heavy run-through of "Change." It was a nice gesture, at the very least.
Just last year, the tables were turned for Teen Suicide: Giannascoli was opening up for the newly reformed Baltimore band. But they seem to be taking their mate's recent surge in popularity well. Introducing themselves as "Mac DeMarco," the band definitely are a yin to Giannascoli's more subdued yang. Outspoken and cheeky, they thanked everyone for their youthful excitement and tolerance during some sound troubles, adding, "We hope we are worth all the tech difficulties."
Applauding Canada's healthcare system, they snidely bragged about their hometown's attractions, like "rats, heroin and a large pizza for $6.50 — carry out only." But they weren't just all talk (though that would've been fine): Playing crowd favourites like "Everything is Fine" and "Lonely Boy Goes To A Rave," which inspired Sam Ray to don a MF Doom mask, Teen Suicide brought the heat on a frosty night that was almost snowed in.
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