Indoor Shoes Launch Party Night 2
January 04, 2011
At the time of this writing I should be in bed. I haven't even seen my bed in days. As I write this I'm washing down two caffeine pills with a cup of coffee, my eye is twitching and my teeth feel like they're going to launch out of my face and start tap dancing because I've been awake for far longer than can possibly be healthy. I'm doing this to myself because I love you, St Catharines. I torture myself with sleep deprivation and caffeine overdose because I don't want to miss a beat of the craziness this crazy town has to offer and going to these shows is more important to me than the well being of my heart.
Knife the Wolf came out guns blazing with what sounded like the soundtrack to a 1930s bank heist. They made me want to grab a tommy gun and go be John Dillinger, that's what they sounded like. The rockabilly/country edge made a great hook but the band didn't depend on the quirkiness as a crutch the way a lot of bands do. They showed a great range in the style of music they play and made neat use of the mandolin for a few of their songs. They'd make a great sing along if they played regularly enough that people started learning the words.
The Beautiful Women of Belmez sounded like something best enjoyed with a large dose of something illegal and a healthy sense of the ridiculous. Their singer, Dan Barret, croaked out strangely captivating lyrics like, “God was shot down in flames!” that give you chills when you listen too closely. He sounded like a crazed, preternaturally intelligent homeless man that screams things that you wish you didn't know to be true, but in a good way. The band takes their namesake from a spooky story about a family in Belmez that had strange faces inexplicably show up on their kitchen floor back in the 70s. I'd say its a good metaphor for their style of music. They played with a beautiful kind of organized chaos, forsaking the traditional band set-up and setting off boldly into the territory of the strange. The music itself was nothing short of amazing, between the accordionist's eerie harmonizing and what seemed to be the drummer having a rhythmic temper tantrum they played something different than I'm pretty sure anybody is used to. What really made them stand out though was stage presence. There was cross dressing, face paint, the drum kit was set up in a really bizarre way and their singer looked disturbingly good in a dress, all of it contributed to a surreal atmosphere that set the tone perfectly for their brand of unearthly magic. I showed them to my housemate when I got home and she declared that she would love to strip to their music, which means a thumbs up in my books. The Beautiful Women of Belmez have been described as, “nudity inducing,” which is I think one of the best ways a band can be described.
Northern Primitive was spooky and darkly mellow. They sounded to me like they were influenced by the Tragically Hip and Nirvana. Also, my eye twitch is starting to worry me. That's all I've got, they were amazing but I'm too sleep deprived to come up with anything.
Howler's name is totally misleading. There was no howling involved here. Instead of howling we got a lovely young girl singing gentle and simple tunes that soothe the place where I used to feel love. Britanny Brooks sings poetic and poignant lyrics with a clean, lilting tone that reminds one of Feist, except better. She and Nick Arsenau, who was playing along on a standup bass as well as the drums, played more like there was just the two of them jamming in the living room as opposed to playing on a stage in a crowded venue. Their quaint, unassuming manner on stage set a relaxing atmosphere that made it really easy to lose yourself in their pure sounding music. I really think the Mansion House suited their style of playing since the small quarters made it feel more personal and they made me feel things I haven't felt in a long time, namely warm and fuzzy. They reminded me that I once loved my first wife, she would have liked these guys. I'm going to go home and cry now. Probably while hugging my pillow and listening to Howler.
As usual, you can find most of these guys on 73h in74rw3bs. Do yourself a favour and listen to them. All of them. Especially Howler.
This article was brought to you by coffee, the fantastic milkshakes at the Fine Grind and Benjamin Krawec.