Every year, the MEG Festival brings together some of the city’s most innovative local bands. Technical Kidman and SUUNS’ show at SAT was evidence of that. However, I was still left with mixed feelings of the overall experience.
Sadly, I missed the opening act by Seoul, an ambient dream-pop band with ethereal vocals reminiscent of chillwave Washed Out’s singer Ernest Greene. They’ll be playing during the Passovah Festival at Casa del Popolo on August 21st though, which is the perfect intimate venue for their youthful sound.
Technical Kidman’s set included tracks from both of their EPs. I’m partial to their self-titled 2011 first album for its energizing and raw mixture of synths, samplers, and drums; however, “Without Fear” from their recent album A Stranger Voice surpasses all their other work. Indeed, the quick, trembling synth lines and guitar riffs are perfectly juxtaposed to a slow rumbling drumbeat. The band accurately self-describes their genre as “wild electronics”. Their show exuded enthralling and transcendental synth work that borders on noise pop.
SUUNS’ performance was more disjointed. The first half of their set was commendable, with the krautrock daze and experimental psych-layered progressions of “Mirror Mirror” and “Edie’s Dream” from their 2013 LP Images du Futur, and “Armed for Peace” from their first LP Zeroe QC.
Partway through the set their sound became uncomfortably disharmonic. An overpowering bass conflated complex notes and scales, reverberating too strongly, and ultimately gave me a slight heartburn. In addition, Ben Shemie’s distorted vocals resembled Indecipherable murmurs that were more grating then enlightening.
Their jaded attitude and lack of eye contact with the public did little to prevent disengagement from the audience and conveyed poor stage presence. Maybe it’s because all their songs seemed three minutes too long. Maybe it was the minimalist set design or trance-inducing visuals. Or maybe it’s just that they lost us in one too many whirlpools of feedback and cacophonic oscillation. In all, the culmination of scratching, grinding, and rasping noises was an unpleasant one.
Still, SUUNS demonstrates undeniable musical depth; they have significantly expanded the Canadian post-rock language. Regrettably, I was not caffeinated enough to endure such a laudable endeavour.
– Jessica Newfield