Moon King Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON, June 13

Moon King Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON, June 13
Photo: Ian Gormely
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The most compelling rock music generally concerns the loud'n'fast pursuit of some childhood notion of perfection. It's something Moon King understand better than most. They've carved a relentless and ruthlessly melodic niche since auspicious beginnings in Spiral Beach, refining a palette ranging from Cocteau Twins ballads ("Crucified") to low-rent fuzz-rock ("Sleeping in my Car"). Assembled loosely onstage, an array of ripped tights, feral hair and baggy vests, they perfectly embody an eleven-year-old's idea of what teenagers ought to look like.

Impressively vast and alien-sounding, Daniel Woodhead's celestial vocal is as captivating as bizarre, his stage persona some entertaining cross between Morrissey and Buster Bluth. For "Only Child," he ambled about the stage and wielded the mic stand over one shoulder like a crucifix, while power-strumming foil Maddy Wilde kept things tight. A potentially ill-advised stage dive showed Woodhead's manic dedication, resulting in a closely-averted hospital trip followed by two verses of wiped-out vocals. Fortunately, Wilde compensated with lung-scraping screams delivered with the fury of a teen runaway tearing down her old Sonic Youth posters. The band seem improved with every performance, and despite relying on older material, the songs are now so fine-tuned you could drive to work in them. With a few more to that standard, they'll be unstoppable.