Noise-positive Vancouver concert promoter and record label Twee Death consistently puts on the most interesting shows in town, but they can be a hard sell to the more casual music fan. More often than not, these shows take place on weeknights in the cramped confines of Little Mountain Studios, and to a crowd of about 50 record store clerks and other music diehards. It was no surprise, then, to see these usual suspects assembled for a performance by Queens, NY psych/noise collagists Blues Control, in support of their latest - and best - record Local Flavor.
Opening the evening were local noise upstarts Gross Xmas, fronted by the ever-prolific Tom Whalen but playing without regular saxophonist Jessica Parsons. Next up were fellow Vancouverites Solars, who furthered their case for being our city's premier drone peddlers with a hypnotic set of doomed psychedelics.
After an eternity of gear-twiddling, Blues Control's set began with the distant, dub-inflected beats (played from a garden-variety Walkman) that have become a calling card of sorts for the duo. Keyboardist Lea Cho played hazy, delayed riffs while Russ Waterhouse spun a web of noise from guitar, synths, vocals and a tangle of effects, with the dull, thumping Walkman-generated drums plugging insistently away like a heartbeat.
The effectiveness of this formula was best demonstrated when they played Local Flavor standout "Tangier." Waterhouse dropped a startling, off-kilter drum pattern over Cho's hypnotic piano, only to pull it back again, revealing the song's original plodding rhythm. It was an understated but eye-opening performance, and those lucky enough to have attended were shown what's behind the Blues Control hype.