Quest for Fire / Hot Live Guys / War Elephant Royal Albert, Winnipeg MB November 20

Despite enduring a 17-hour marathon drive from southern Ontario to Winnipeg, Quest for Fire showed no signs of fatigue as they unleashed a sonic maelstrom on the city during their first visit to town.

Local bass and drums duo War Elephant started off the night with a bruising brand of low-end rumble with a giant gong and Melvins-like fuzz tossed in for good measure.

Winnipeg’s Hot Live Guys followed and blasted through a slew of new songs that showed the group’s finely honed party rock has found some even sharper edges as band members tumbled over tables and leapt across the stage.

Toronto four-piece Quest for Fire lit the fuse on a 30-megaton musical bomb with combustible Spacemen 3-meets-Hawkwind delivery. Chad Ross’ fluently soothing vocals formed a compelling contrast to the roar of instruments and the peaks and values of the band’s music. Guitarist Andrew Moszynski leaned into a wah wah pedal to expertly coax out frantic, spiralling notes while a handful of crazed dancers cut a rug in front of the stage.

The group’s sound is a far cry from the rock'n'soul strut of Ross and Moszynski’s work in the Deadly Snakes but Quest for Fire conveyed a firm footing all their own as they delved into a number of muscular songs off their debut disc.

The rhythm section of Mike Maxymuik and Josh Bauman anchored the low end with enough might to prevent an oil tanker from budging. From slow, gentle drones to wall-shaking versions of "Bison Eyes” and "Next to the Fire,” the band showed off their keen ability to move from subtle measures to full-blown explosiveness, bringing incendiary warmth to a frigid Winnipeg night.