Published Nov 22, 2015Stouffville native Nicole Dollanganger arrived onstage flanked, unexpectedly, by a bassist (Kevin) and guitarist (Matt) that looked straight out of a metal band; they wore a Misfits shirt and a shirt featuring a cartoonish cross, respectively.
That they pummelled the audience with distortion-laden, doom-y riffs wasn't totally surprising given their look, but nobody could have predicted it before the show. There was no drummer; the guitarist slammed his foot down on an open hi-hat and a kick drum for percussion.
Though she seemingly came out of nowhere, Dollanganger has a truly incredible voice that cut through the din of her band. The heavy-hitting nature of the show stood in contrast to Dollanganger's slower burning, more hypnotic record, Natural Born Losers, but gave a glimpse into the influences that inspired the drone-y aspect of its sound.
Compared to the emphatic opening song, the next few of her songs felt a little less impressive — and maybe a little monotonous — and while the band weren't always perfectly in sync, they did add a necessary soft-LOUD dynamic that added depth and heft to the proceedings. "Are there any Type O Negative fans out there? Yeah? Cause this is a cover," Dollanganger asked the crowd before playing that band's "Christian Woman" to a perplexed audience.
She closed with a stunning, slower song which, given the new, heavy context added by her band, felt more ominous than sorrowful, and hinted that Dollanganger's sound could still go in any direction. For a new artist, that's an exciting prospect.