Published Oct 10, 2008Making up two-thirds of the Flemish Eye knot, Women and Chad VanGaalen performed for a nearly sold-out audience at the El Mocambo. The Flemish Eye family doesnt come round Toronto that often, and the crowd was noticeably excited about the show.
An underwhelming set by Toronto band Boys Who Say No started the night on the wrong foot. The self-described alternative country pop outfit were technically good, but stylistically boring. Like your favourite high school band with better chops, Boys Who Say No shared some shallow, pseudo-poetry with us, backed by tight, well-rehearsed riffs and stage banter before making their exit.
Womens performance was marked by a disillusioned, yet charming stage presence. What else can one expect from Canadas answer to No Age? Everyone just wanted more, and they gave it to us in heavy, chaotic messes of sound and distortion. Amplified by guitar-drumming (which is exactly what it sounds like), their set ended in a wall of shoegaze. It hurt my ears, but it was awesome.
Chad VanGaalen was his usual hilarious, jaunty self on stage. Strumming his Steinberger, the ridiculously tall musician looked almost comical. Joined by a very quiet Julie Fader, he performed songs from his new album, Soft Airplane, starting his set with "Willow Tree. There was nothing special about his performance he went through songs the same way theyre performed on record.
What made VanGaalen so entertaining was his banter between songs. Before going into a cover of Brian Enos "Golden Hours, VanGaalen gave us a lesson in music history, asking us if wed ever heard of Eno: "Yeah, he started after a cold reaction from the crowd, " he never did anything good, except about 90 percent of the bands you love. VanGaalen got in an encore before releasing us to the madness of Nuit Blanche.