Quidi Video The Republic, St. John's NL, April 22
Published Apr 23, 2015Quidi Video started their Lawnya Vawnya-opening set with a squall of noise before their singers deployed harmonized croons, Sam Primmer singing in a pained yowl while Leslie Amminson sung softly, often inaudibly, underneath the din. They compare themselves to My Bloody Valentine, but there's something too blunt, too forcedly drawl-y about Primmer's voice to evoke the gauzy, enigmatic vocals of the famous shoegazers.
Instrumentally, the pieces are there for a great live performance —drummer Ethan Lewis and bassist Brandon Goodyear held down a propulsive rhythm section that lent power to the proceedings, and the two guitars (Primmer and lead guitarist Ben Rodden) created a suitably overwhelming sheet of noise — but the band have yet to figure out who they are, and it made for an uneven set.
After a hypnotic opening song, a delay derailed a little of the energy their first track summoned, and instead of winning the audience back with another original, they played a cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," which lacked the swing of the original. Amminson sung admirably, but the rhythm rigidity with which the band played the song made it seem difficult for her to feel anything, making the track lifeless. It was jarring, too — before the band had established a sound or even a bond with the audience, they were forgoing their own sound for somebody else's.
Their third track was a pretty straightforward rock track that lacked the intrigue and charm of their first song, but they refound it by the next song, an entrancing, languorously paced track that floated on a cloud of hazy guitars. Unfortunately, more covers followed: Weezer's "The Sweater Song" was a cheap addition, and Primmer made it impossible for Amminson to harmonize with him by slurring and changing the notes at will; and Blondie's "Heart of Glass" was fine, but again, it failed to say anything about who Quidi Video are.
But that's okay. Quidi Video are still finding their sound, and learning to build a set. They have the pieces — now they just need to put them together right.