Pelican / Mono / Mare Lee's Palace, Toronto, ON - June 14, 2006

Bizarrely enough, Hydra Head flagship act Pelican have never graced our country with even a one-off appearance, until now. Swiftly approaching Isis in terms of indie crossover potential, the group’s successful progification of their sound with last year’s The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw has effectively strengthened their fan base, as the considerable turnout for the evening indicated. Mare kick-started the proceedings with a brief set heavy on material from their up-coming full-length. While garnering a mixed reaction from the crowd, they have undeniably pushed forward with their sound and will be a band to watch in the new year. Japanese post-rock outfit Mono followed, playing a hit-or-miss blend of post-rock, à la Godspeed You Black Emperor! with slightly more bombastic climaxes. While not quite living up to the promise displayed by their recorded work, Pelican gave it an admirable shot. A major detracting factor was the contribution of drummer Larry Herweg, who was slightly out of sync with his band-mates for most of the set and peppered the material with unnecessary blast beats and metallic nuances. That said, Pelican have a knack for establishing a solid, almost hypnotic groove and riding with it — while their material occasionally borders on monotonous with little to no variation in tempo or timing, but that is part of the appeal. As opposed to the oppressive, emotionally taught trance that Isis or Neurosis have made a name purveying, Pelican prefer a more upbeat, almost positive approach, which differentiates their work. While not a completely flawless set, it is the small inconsistencies that make the group sound that much more human.