The Black Hollies / Wizardtron Casa del Popolo, Montreal QC May 2

In what appears to be an unfortunate trend hitting Montreal these days, New Jersey’s the Black Hollies were greeted by an abysmal turnout at Casa del Popolo. The night started out on the wrong foot with a non-performance by Montreal bass and drums duo Wizardtron. Under different circumstances Wizardtron could be poised for greatness, but things were just not working out for them during this performance. While sludgy garage rock of this variety does by no means have to be tight musically to work, Wizardtron were so insecure in their performance that it almost became difficult to watch. That said, the interesting guitar lines played through a bass were particularly worth giving a second listen under better conditions. The Black Hollies are stellar live, perfectly recreating the nostalgic ’60s sound they appreciate so much. Duelling guitars bounce off each other with swirls of psychedelic reverb (played by ex-Rye Coalition members Herb Wiley V and Jon Gonnelli), while vocalist Justin Angelo Morey plays it safe but also keep in the tradition of the genre. By far the standout of the entire performance was Scott Bolasci’s maniacal drumming, with his mid-song solos totally stealing the show. Perhaps uncomfortable with the lack of audience, the Black Hollies avoided contact with those left in the crowd and only addressed them once they decided to end their set.