Café Cléopatre, Montreal QC, November 17

Photo: Luke Orlando

BY Stephen CarlickPublished Nov 18, 2016

Holy shit, can Bria Salmena howl. As Toronto band FRIGS opened the Thursday night (November 17) showcase at Café  Cléopatre, she plunged into the set headfirst, screaming into the mic almost immediately. That can often sound forced; it didn't.

Maybe it's because FRIGS' songs are never about attitude, style or gimmick. When they restarted after early technical difficulties ("We're FRIGS; were from Toronto; This sucks"), it was with "Shit," a new song railing against being made to feel ashamed.

Their slower fare, including a slower, bluesy dirge of a followup, wasn't quite either sludgy or melodic enough to be great (it felt sort of '90s?), but Salmena's distinct rasp did enough to captivate when the songs didn't — and they mostly did.

Salmena's been around long enough (the band were long known as the Dirty Frigs, and thank god they changed it) to know how to work a stage, and freed from her guitar around the set's fourth song, she made songs like the poignant "Chest" come to life, doomy breakdown.
She stalked the stage, the band tightly playing behind her, and howled fervidly through the last song's end, making sure the crowd felt what she felt. In case they didn't, Salmena hopped on a table in front of the stage to scream it in their faces.

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