Gang Gang Dance Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON July 10
Published Jul 11, 2011Positive energy -- that was the motto for Gang Gang Dance, not just on their T-shirts being sold at the merch table, but also throughout their 90-minute set. Taking over from the mix openers Nguzunguzu and Total Freedom prepared for them, the New Yorkers dove into the vigorous bass music with a seamless transition. The jam took a while to break into a groove, but the five-piece GGD displayed their tightness as a unit, reading off each other with the prowess of an expert improvisers.
The introduction allowed singer Lizzi Bougatsos the opportunity to show off her percussive skills, which only added to her role as the band's master of ceremonies. She was the nucleus of the positive energy, mentioning there were old ghosts communicating with her through the speakers before cooing indistinguishably and moving like a hypnotized serpent to the Middle Eastern synthesized waves of "Adult Goth." She paid tribute to the local Chinatown area, dedicating "Chinese High" to anyone Chinese in the building, as she put it, and spent the better part of the set snaking through the crowd with the band's "vibes manager" Taka Imamura, dancing among the patrons (and getting in on the blasting air conditioning).
The rest of the band, for the most part, simply buried themselves into their latest album, the set-dominating Eye Contact, with the exception of Josh Diamond, whose impressive swigging of vodka from the bottle didn't seem to impact his competency on guitar. The unveiling of the epic "Glass Jar" wasn't nearly as drawn out as it is on record, though the revved-up, hot-stepping rhythm of "MindKilla" was even more rousing and cardio-inducing live.
As they've proven on countless occasions, Gang Gang Dance are one of the more talented crews to adapt their studio trickery for the stage. But when it comes to generating those levels of positive energy, they're in a league of their own.