Telecomo Black Squirrel Books, Ottawa ON, May 12
Published May 13, 2016Telecomo formed quickly, recorded an EP titled "PROMO ONLY" and scheduled their release show for it in a used bookstore. The morning after the show, Adam Saikaley, Pat Johnson and Gary Franks were headed to Brooklyn to ambitiously record both a seven-inch and an LP live off the floor, with sound engineer Jonathan Schenke of Parquet Courts, at Seaside Lounge Recording Studios.
In light of all that, squeezing in the show might seem like a formality, but the trio's excitement, and their loud, raw songs that shook bookshelves and fans alike, said otherwise.
Though a little flat at times, Saikaley's singing displayed proudly both his morose and cheerful song themes. Often content on the sidelines with a keyboard or synth in Hilotrons or the Acorn, Saikaley was centre stage with a guitar for Telecomo. Instead of his experimental jazz or electro pop, here was a different Saikaley than most fans recognize. But really, it shouldn't have been so surprising — he plays more genres than most punk rockers own band shirts.
Gary Franks, as tall as his bass is long, was a whirling dervish throughout the set, pushing back on the packed crowd as he wandered out into the ranks while Johnson, a veteran drummer in Ottawa of almost 20 years, safely removed his horn-rimmed glasses before bombarding the darkened aisles with explosive beats.
They opened with unheard tracks "Long Gone" and "No Answer," which kept to the theme of a young man spurned, but instead of fury, the singer pleaded innocence in the face of adversity. "Around," from "PROMO ONLY", got the crowd moving, and "Boom" kept it up, despite the somewhat monotonous repetition of the title. The entire EP played, they closed out with an energetic "Lipstick," which will hopefully be recorded in NYC over the weekend.
Miraculously, no books were damaged in the making of this tape release show.