Shalabi Effect Montreal QC September 25 to 28

The problem with pairing headliners Soft Canyon with Sam Shalabi and friends is that some rock fans assume that avant garde instrumental music craves a vocal track. These guys are into improv, yes, but it would have been nice if the audience had shut the hell up. While local tap-dancer Sarah Febbraro (aka Big Gold Hoops) hoofed around the stage, the band’s plodding melodies (initially squeezed out of a super-cute, itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie electric guitar), skipping-stone beats, Eastern percussion and dense, droning swathes of noise wafted through the room. Unfortunately, the band’s frustration weakened their usually magnetic creations.