Fans drawn to Ottawa's Babylon through Think About Life's 2006 self-titled debut or via keyboardist/guitarist Graham Van Pelt's project Miracle Fortress were treated to plenty of surprises as the Montreal quartet debuted a new direction in sound for an early Saturday show.
Taking the stage before dusk, Toronto-via-Ottawa three-piece Videotape, featuring former members of Ottawa's …As the Poets Affirm paired crashing tribal rhythms with melodic bravado and drill bit guitars while exhibiting perhaps some of the best music coming from the post-Animal Collective vernacular. Indiana's Merrill Garbus and her one-woman experimental experience tUnE-yArDs followed Videotape, armed with a sampler, rack of pedals, bass, snare and lots of assuming/unassuming stage presence. Soulfully twisting and shouting over looped off-beat rhythms and ping-pong ukulele playing, Merrill easily bonded with those impassioned audience members fascinated with her gorgeous anti-melodies.
Think About Life (pictured) hit the stage before 10 pm in accelerated celebration mode as singer Martin Cesar, decked out in a hat adorned in "bedazzler" jewels (fully clarified in new song "The Wizzzard"), summoned the sample heavy, sped-up vocal beats of "Havin' My Baby" from their upcoming LP, Family. Those in attendance only familiar with Think About Life's noise rock debut seemed thrown back before throwing their hands up in unison and flooding the floor with dance moves. Cesar worked hard to remain the focal point of the show, stoking the flame of his elated band while frequently joining the crowd on the floor to dance, duet and distribute high energy dance rock sermons. Think About Life's confounding live show contained so much authority, charm and character that, whether you were pressed against the stage, straggling near the bar or hanging at the merch booth, you were as much a part of the show as the performers.