Friday, March 14 Casa Del Popolo
U.S. Girls, Gashrat and The Pink Noise
Friday night was blessed with a thaw in the seesaw mechanics of Montreal’s end of winter, so the mood throughout the packed rooms was buzzing with imminent-spring sexual tension and unleashed happiness, always a good start for a show at the Casa.
After a brief pre-show chat with 2/3’s of Pink Noise about the fear of stage-fright induced projectile vomiting, they proceeded to kick out a sonic sucker punch. Singer/Howler/Pink Visionary Mark Sauner and drummer Tara Desmond’s loose/tight performances were spot on but, for me, these were overshadowed by Graham Langdon’s shaolin-level angular non-riff guitar riffing. Graham “the Grapey One’s” playing made my jaw go slack, as it does every time I hear him play. However, I do so admire how Pink Noise has evolved into a band with the ability to do math-core-infected stop on a dime-isms followed up by falling over backwards into a barrel of scorpions-isms.
Upon arriving home after the show I wrote down that Gashrat are the embodiment of post war blues heard under the influence of trailer park amphetamine nightmares induced by spores of plants growing out of the trash bins behind the MySpace office. Now, after sleeping off the multiple Jamesons, I feel that they define my preferred definition of punk rock: uncompromising, visceral, honest and un-preoccupied with ornamentation – which can be hard to find these days. It should be noted that both bands so far written about share a bonafide genius musician amongst its members, and if that person doesn’t become famous in the next five years our civilization is indeed broken.
I found myself drawn into the U.S. Girls soundworld, which could be described as having the best elements of early ’60s girl group and torch songs accompanied by a rummage rack of synth rhythms all drenched in reverb and recorded on a cassette 4-track. There’s a suggestion of contemporary art elements synthesized into U.S. Girls’ show, but I found it impossible to tell if this was contrived or absorbed through inspired osmosis, it just all made sense. I really like this recent wave of bands of this ilk (Dirty Beaches, Jef Barbara, St Vincent, etc.) who fold in the better lessons of music and art into what is closest to the true meaning of post-rock. Maybe the only thing that should be noted was that, after being thrillingly pummeled by two much louder and more populated bands, the packed room was riveted to U.S. Girls more nuanced performance.
To top everything off, the merchandise table was a beautiful display of 12″ and 7″ vinyl records and cassette tapes, which indicates music lovers were running the night.
– Marc Montanchez