TOPS / She-Devils Bar le Ritz PDB, Montréal, QC, March 20

TOPS / She-Devils Bar le Ritz PDB, Montréal, QC, March 20
Photo: Luke Orlando
She-Devils are a duo who've been playing quite a bit this winter; Kyle plays and manipulates samples while Audrey Ann sings. Audrey Ann's powerful, romantic lyrics of love, touch, waiting and loss ring clear through the haze of finger-picked acoustic guitars, oscillations and bass synthesizers, bringing to mind the brooding, dark croon of Siouxie & the Banshees mixed with the grooving lo-fi art sampling of Boards of Canada and Japanther. If you took away the samples, amazing, heartfelt classical ballads would remain.
Pop band TOPS combine the smooth disco funk of early Michael Jackson, the chorus-laden intricate guitar lines of the Smiths and the alien eloquence found in the lyrics of Sean Nicholas Savage. They opened with "2 Shy" and immediately people were dancing.  Though their songs are dreamy and even a little sugary, their recent work ethic has been fearsome, and some musical exhaustion showed a little in their performance. But the road miles paid off in the tight presentation of songs from Picture You Staring and Tender Opposites. They unveiled a heavy new song as well. The keyboards and singing woven with the jangly guitar leads, flawless bass lines and immaculate drumming sounds very classic while still maintaining a new and uplifting energy. When they finally played "Way to be Loved," their hottest single to date, everyone in the audience sang along louder than the band.
The band returned for an encore of an audience-assisted jam where singer Jane Penny played guitar and guitarist David Carriere did a stand-up set, "Blind Faze," a gorgeous cover song and finally "Sleeptalker."  When they complete this next leg of touring, who knows what the future holds for TOPS.