Pretty Girls Make Graves / Tangiers Mod Club Theatre, Toronto ON - August 25, 2005

With two bands in between records ready to give sneak peaks of their third albums, this line-up felt well balanced. Tangiers took the stage and proceeded to introduce songs from The Family Myth, which felt more in line with the arty pop direction of their last record than the raucous rock of their debut. As good as the songs were, unfortunately the band failed to ignite a fire onstage with their humdrum stage presence. Though there won't be a new record in stores until January or February, Seattle's Pretty Girls Make Graves have pretty much adopted the road as their home, hence their stop for this superfluous gig. Still, as one of the most electrifying live bands on the planet, the five-piece found it the right time to give fans an idea of what they can expect. The recent change in PGMG's line-up has had a significant effect on the band's sound. When guitarist Nathan Thelan left, multi-instrumentalist Leona Marrs (of Hint Hint) filled in and brought a whole new element to the band. From the get go, things seemed different, as Marrs strolled out, fronting the band's underrated keyboard, as well as an unforeseen accordion strapped onto her. As odd as it seemed, the instrument was assimilated nicely into the band's new songs, which proved not only how far this band can stretch their musical spectrum but also how well they can pull it off. As refreshing as it was to experience this modification, witnessing the dazzling Andrea Zollo belt out numbers like the crucial "This Is Our Emergency" and the exhilarating "Chemical, Chemical" balanced out the old and the new with comforting results. When the band kicked out their seamless anthem "Speakers Push the Air" for the finale, it was a perfect ending to both a riveting performance and what might be how we remember this band, which is both an exciting and nervous thought.