They Shoot Horses Don’t They / The Absent Sound / Sortie Real The Royal Albert Arms, Winnipeg MA - April 12, 2006

The problem with booking avant-garde bands is pairing them up with local bands that won’t drive the crowd out before they step on stage. Unfortunately, this hazard was in effect for Kill Rock Star’s They Shoot Horses Don’t They, making for a painful few hours before their appearance on stage. Formed from members of the fantastic and now defunct shoegazer trio REDSAYNO, Winnipeg’s Sortie Real were not the most exciting way to start the evening. Comprised of a bassoon, guitar and drums, the band played lengthy songs that did little more than make the crowd feel awkward. Next, local yahoos the Absent Sound put on a show of self-indulgent noise. Everything from the stock footage projections on the wall to the bare-footed bass player reeked of a group of film student wannabes who take their "sound” a little too seriously. The end result was a boring set that had almost everyone in attendance chatting about its horridness. Buzzing loudly on the hype surrounding them, Vancouver’s They Shoot Horses Don’t They jumped onto stage, bringing some circus-flavoured fun to the evening. Having the curse of constant comparisons to acts like Man Man, the Danielson Family and Modest Mouse, the band could have been a total disaster live. Instead, they delicately walked the fine line between too much and not enough, all the while stomping and honking their way through their performance. The most impressive part of the night was seeing an experimental band that didn’t rely solely on their strange music to carry the show. They delivered a circus mess that was both totally entertaining to watch and fantastic to hear. Despite the yawn-inducing effect of the opening bands, They Shoot Horses managed to get everyone bouncing and dreaming of a life upon a tightrope.