Arab on Radar The Garrison, Toronto ON August 7
Published Aug 09, 2010It would be difficult to evoke the look, smell and feel of an Arab on Radar show without wantonly jumbling the words in random order, purposefully obscuring meaning, and somehow poking the reader in the eye. After all, this is a band that's made their rep on being difficult and confrontational, as true to the original spirit of punk rock of bands like Flipper and the Feederz.
Arab on Radar's return to the concert stage after nearly a decade brought out a new generation of fans with a love for angular, heavy music The spitting, shrieking spectacle of lead shouter Eric Paul was the focal point as the band, decked out in matching utilitarian work gear, bathed themselves in white light so as not to detract from the raw actuality of the performance.
It worked. The band were in fine form, adapting their textural freak-outs to a more stage-ready thunderous, guttural sound, coming off like a bipolar Jesus Lizard. Like their albums, the set was brief but dynamic, straddling the fine line of mosh-pitting fist-pumpery and art-damaged bleeding noise. This was drive-time music for the psych ward — vicious enough to scare most people, but too much fun for the chin-scratchers. The broken glass on the floor was an appropriate accoutrement to the sense of crazed mayhem.
Several heavy, feedback-enriched bands rooted in a mentally unstable garage punk aesthetic (Mayyors, FNU Ronnies and Puffy Areolas, to name only three) have been making some of the most exciting music of late, but owe more than a debt of thanks to Arab on Radar for paving the way. That said, if Arab on Radar are back and ready to compete on the new noise battleground, they better bring their A-game. Crazy noise isn't just for the crazy anymore.