Versa The Garrison, Toronto ON, February 13
Published Feb 14, 2016Combining rock instrumentation with projected live visuals, Monika Hauck and Alex Ricci resist identifying Versa as a band. The project sees Hauck minding twisting, wrinkling paint-marbled liquids while Ricci commands a groove with a heavily effected bass guitar, and it all coalesces live in a sort of synesthetic feedback loop: the onstage vibrations from the low bass frequencies physically alter Hauck's changing liquid shapes, and their manipulation determines the direction of the instrumentation.
It's an interesting concept that creates unique narratives around the abstract visuals they produce (and later turn into prints), but the live instrumental reactions are comparably conservative. While they added a drummer and a saxophone player to the mix at the Garrison, it unfortunately still made for an experience that did little to secure listener investment, with audience members periodically tuning out to chat over drinks, happy to check in with what was happening later on. But in the realm of performance art, there's something to that, too, isn't there?