Rocky Mountain Ice House, Edmonton AB, October 11

Photo: Chris Gee

BY Chris GeePublished Oct 12, 2015

"Did everyone have a large meal before coming here tonight?" Ought's wiry frontman, Tim Darcy, asked in the middle of his band's hectic set. Despite starting past midnight on Thanksgiving Sunday (October 11), the crowd for Ought's second Edmonton appearance in just under a year was buzzing and spirited. Playing almost their entire excellent new album, Sun Coming Down, the Montreal-based quartet felt like a seasoned touring band despite having been together for only three years.
Many of Ought's songs are loosely structured around Darcy's anxious and wandering prose, all clean, stringy guitar and skidding drums patiently building and snapping abruptly into focus, distributing a swirly ruckus of combustible pop hooks. Darcy is a fidgety talk-singer, enunciating his words in an erratic bark while the rest of the band loosely teeter into a chaotic, hypnotizing groove. In some ways, bassist Ben Stidworthy feels like the director of Ought's meandering tendencies, guiding the band in and out of stretches of jubilant and reflective moments.
Ought ended with "Gemini," the riveting final song from their first album, More Than Any Other Day, in which Darcy claims, "I retain the right to be disgusted by life; I retain the right to be in love with everything in sight." Ought confront both the joy and despair that comprise the messiness of life, and their live show is an exhilarating illustration of that.

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