Suuns Le National, Montreal QC, March 9

Suuns Le National, Montreal QC, March 9
Photo: Nadia Davoli

Suuns are a band at the height of their powers. Over the past decade, they've built a repertoire of guitar-driven tracks dripping with industrial tones that place you in a chokehold; not asking, but telling you to listen. Last night, however, the band loosened their grip. Taking to the Le National stage for the launch of their latest album, Felt, the band transformed a set that could have easily been comprised of only new songs into a slick, seamless, almost serpentine trip through their greatest hits.
Beckoned to the stage by the sound of church bells, Suuns dove headfirst into the evening with "Look No Further" off Felt. Balancing a sparse stage setup with an extravagant backdrop, the band performed with Sir Edward Burne-Jones' The Mirror of Venus looking down on them. A romantic painting of Venus and a handful of women looking at their reflections in a lily pond, it was an odd choice, but one that paid off handsomely; the faces of the women glowing under the stage lights as hues of red, green and blue painted their pre-Raphaelite mugs in a spectrum of theatrical emotion.
Working their way through "X-Alt," and then their latest single "Watch You, Watch Me," the band were positioned to move safely through the entirety of Felt in order. Instead, they veered off course, playing "Instrument" off Hold/Still as the crowd bobbed along. Moving afterward into "Uh-no," bathed in sinister, cherry-red light, it became clear that the band was building toward a climax. The fog rolled onto the stage, the lights began to flicker, with the band edging towards something big, as drummer Liam O'Neill played with his whole body, leading them to the charge.
The riff for "2020" came as a welcomed assault; Joe Yarmush stepped forward to the packed crowd as they writhed and threw themselves around with abandon. Digressing slightly with a return to Felt, Suuns moved into "Control," with singer Ben Schemie taking out a set of triangles and hitting them together for a meditative effect. Followed by "Make It Real," "Up Past the Nursery" off their debut LP Zeroes QC, and then "Peace and Love," with an accompanying saxophonist who had been popping on and off the stage all evening, the set was tight — the songs off Felt played brilliantly live.
Ending with an encore of "Pie IX," "Armed for Peace," and "Edie's Dream," Suuns proved that they are, indeed, at the top of their game.

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