HEALTH Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON, June 18

HEALTH Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON, June 18
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
Somewhere along the way, HEALTH were allowed to fall through the cracks. Where likeminded groups Battles, Liars and Black Dice remained part of the cultural conversation, the Los Angeles noiseniks fell by the wayside. So their re-emergence after a six-year gap in recordings was both welcome and, as their performance on this night proved, necessary.

Hitting the stage against a backdrop of ambient sound, the quartet wasted no time setting the mood with pounding drums, triggered bursts of noise and howling vocals and bassist Benjamin Jared Miller's aggressive head banging. Members were frequently either leaping around or dropping to their knees to mess around with a pedal or other piece of equipment. They quickly found their groove on "Die Slowly," its pulsing beat sending the packed crowd into a frenzy.

HEALTH expertly balanced experimental-noise, dream-pop, shoegaze, hardcore and pretty much every other underground sub-genre you can think of, at once coming across as transcendent and apocalyptic. Defacto frontman Jake Duzsik said little to the crowd, apparently content to let the visceral performance speak for itself.

Offering their most "traditional" performance of the night, the encore found them employing a two-guitars, bass and drums setup for the first time to deliver their version of short, wordless hardcore. The last blast of creativity once again reminded the crowd how much this band has been missed.