Asobi Seksu / Flowers of Hell Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON October 20

Asobi Seksu / Flowers of Hell Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON October 20
I, for one, have never listened to Asobi Seksu's 2006 release, Citrus, and thought it sounded contained in any way. The album glistens with bright, optimistic, shoegaze twang, and doesn't make one crave a live set to see their music really flourish. Their show at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, however, felt like hearing the music from their second album for the first time. The Brooklyn quartet brought their music out of the restraints of a recording and onto the stage in a loud, streaming wall of sound.

Opening for Asobi Seksu was Toronto by-way-of London, UK’s the Flowers of Hell. This seemed to be a fitting line-up considering they opened for shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine at the Kool Haus not a month prior. The band, officially features 16 members, graced the stage with only half. Their blend of psychedelic rock, orch pop and post-rock had a hint of improvisation, with members eyeing each other for cues.

Asobi Seksu mainly played songs from Citrus, starting their set with "New Years.” Front-woman Yuki Chikudate, dwarfed by the other members, seemed shy when she thanked the audience for coming out to their second Toronto show, but introduced new material with a gleeful tone. This sent cheers through the audience, who've been waiting patiently for almost two and a half years for another album from Asobi Seksu. Their new songs seem to take them in a more calm, trance-inspired direction. But I wonder: will having their music debuted in a live setting lead to disappointment? Because, as the show proved, their recorded music conveys only a fraction of their might.

Their last song before their encore, "Red Sea” saw Chikudate take to the drums in a chaotic fury that exploded in strobe lights and her throwing the sticks into the crowd. I caught a glimpse of one fan cupping his forehead in his hand and smiling in a daze after being hit.