Covenant / Decoded Feedback The Mod Club, Toronto ON May 17

Covenant / Decoded Feedback The Mod Club, Toronto ON May 17
I could swear I heard U2 on the sound system after making my way through the Mod Club doors, and if it hadn't been for all the goth-attired patrons lined up outside, I might have wondered if I was in the right place. But as the room slowly filled (and warmed up), DJ Skin's musical choices began to make more sense in relation to the live sets to come.

Seeing Covenant and Decoded Feedback play on the same night nearly made up for not getting to Montreal for the recent Kinetik festival. But things got off to a slow, less-than-inspiring start.

A long DJ set provided a prelude to Decoded Feedback's appearance on stage, and during their performance, the subdued band-crowd dynamic sucked some of the energy out of the air. Playing to a sometimes disorienting or slightly disturbing visual accompaniment (by Athanore), Decoded Feedback delivered a darkly intense and hypnotic set, including personal favourite "Bio-Vital." But the tight electronic sounds, accented now and then by heavily distorted guitar, didn't seem to really break through.

Another long DJ break drew out the space before Covenant took over, but this time with a sense of rising anticipation. Percussion and synths by Daniel Myers (Haujobb, Architect), along with a short but harsh back-up vocal attack from keyboardist Joakim Montelius, gave Covenant a heavier than usual edge — one of the main highlights of the band's performance. Another was Eskil Simonsson's lead vocals soaring over the beats and melodies from beginning to end. The crowd climaxed with "We Stand Alone" and peaked again with an encore hailed in by "Like Tears in Rain," leaving the crowd to exit hot, sweaty and just short of being fully satisfied.