Paul Jacobs

River & Sky, Field ON, July 20

Photo: Stephen McGill

BY Matt BobkinPublished Jul 21, 2019

Paul Jacobs' live sets shouldn't work. Piling as many collaborators and instruments on stage as he possibly can, Jacobs' live set eschews garage rock's typical "less is more" approach for a chaotically maximalist approach to his genre of choice, backed by an array of guitars, synths and percussion,  including two maracas banging a series of tom-toms, and Jacobs' trusty tambourine, which was whacked against any surface imaginable, though mainly against Jacobs' own body.
It's a different, but complementary, take on his recording style, which finds the Montreal-based musician pushing out release after release at an impressive clip.
Jacobs' live presence is ferocious, as the singer spends his time snarling, strutting and howling in and out of the crowd, tambourine in hand. But through the chaos lie plenty of catchy melodies, including a pair of walloping synth hooks that clawed through the cacophony into audiences' brainstems.
Though Jacobs' growling vocals are hard to decipher, his sense of humour came through clearly with no fewer than four interpolations of the B-52s' "Rock Lobster." Every time he prefaced the next tune with "This next one's about the beach," it hit like a punchline, with the tunes themselves as a lengthy payoff. Despite all the noise, Paul Jacobs' singular style came through clearly.

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