Serena-Maneesh / The Depreciation Guild The Drake Hotel, Toronto ON April 2
Published Apr 04, 2010Don't believe the hype: Friday can be a terrible night to see a show. Double-booked venues often mandate early or truncated sets, clearing acts off by 11 p.m. to make room for post-game dance parties. In the Drake's defence, Norwegian combo Serena-Maneesh had originally booked the stately Great Hall, presumably moving down the street due to slow ticket sales. Nevertheless, the band known for expansive, distortion-laced jams would suffer from the new venue's enforced brevity.
Loud, layered and thriving on swirling melodies, opening act the Depreciation Guild built up sonorous steam before getting an early hook, much to Brooklynites' bemusement. The dozen or so rapt fans in attendance looked chagrined. It wasn't a good sign. Serena-Maneesh arrived promptly thereafter, bandleader Emil Nikolaisen dressed like Adam Ant on a desert sojourn. Still, the crowd looked sparse.
Low attendance be damned, the five-piece ripped through a deafening set, mining both of their stunning studio efforts and ticking off shoegaze boxes with a dash of My Bloody Valentine here and a hint of Ride there, although the familiar — and lately ubiquitous — touchstones were only jumping-off points.
Serena-Maneesh songs may flourish from distortion but they resonate via melody. Incisive keys and Jimi Hendrix-aping guitar lines spiced up the wall of sound. "Selina's Melodie Fountain" even imported Chameleons-style melodic post-punk. For its part, the rhythm section shone with thick-as-redwood bass parts, frantic maraca bashing and jackhammer-ing drums. Of course, guitars crashed like bumper cars throughout. And just as the foreplay ramped up and the crowd began to perspire, the show ended, encore-less, to make room for a DJ set. Damn you, Friday night.