Saturday, May 03, 2008

A night out in Montreal: Trouble Vs Glue & folks at Sala Rossa.

It's pained me a little bit that I moved to Montreal and have made a habit out of always posting about music that is happening elsewhere. Thankfully, this will change with this post. A few weeks ago, Duchess Says actually played their record release party to much fanfare in town. They're a band I've wanted to see ever since I moved here, but they've only played but a handful of times in the year and a half since then. Indeed I had planned on writing down a few lines about that show because I was excited to go. But, at the last minute I flaked out. While $18 in a nice theater isn't an entirely unreasonable price, that + a subway ticket + some drinks at the show was feeling a little hard on the wallet on that particular day. Alas, nothing to report.... except that I rather like all the songs of theirs I heard and have been itching to hear a lot more. Apparently people in town (and elsewhere) are rapidly beating me to it.

Last week I got an email from Toni of the italian spazz-y dance band Dada Swing that his new band with fellow-Swing member Manuela, Trouble vs Glue was on tour in North America and were playing in Montreal on April 30th and May 1st. I went down to the May 1st show at Sala Rossa with Big A Little A, Thundrah, and An Albatross. While this won't be news to anyone from Montreal, Sala Rossa is a decent sized venue hosting the shows of Blue Skies Turn Black (and reminding one a little bit of Union Pool in Brooklyn, albeit a bit bigger), housed in the ballroom of a former Spanish social club, which is now also home to a very nice Spanish tapas restaurant right below the venue. I must say, if this popped up a few years ago on Ludlow Street, I'd have been mortified (as I was when those types of things popped up), but on St Laurent, it's actually quite nice; the shows are nice, food is reasonable, sound is always good. It's like if Pianos were ripped out of NY and not over-run with bridge and tunnel. And the food is pretty fucking awesome, thank you very much.

Dada Swing played with the Weegs on a past tour in Europe and have been penpals since around then. Trouble vs Glue is the new band featuring two thirds of the aforementioned act, formed in the vacuum and creative frustration after DS's guitarist moved from Rome to Brussels. As a two piece, they have a slim drums and keyboards and a quirky, guitar-and-keyboards sound. Very fun, loose songs that would sound best at a drunken party. The big stage was a bit of an awkward set up for the two-piece, but within 3 songs, they quickly commandeered the situation and got the attention of the arriving audience who had likely never heard of them before. As the show went on, the band's energy level crescendoed, as did the appreciation of the crowd. It was fun to watch and I'm glad their stop in town pulled me out of the house that Thursday.

[Trouble vs Glue. Mediocre photo by: me]

After our openers came home-town act Thundrah. My first encounter with them, they made quite a good impression. Every town seems to have their tropes, and one of Montreal's is the lengthy, rhythmic, and noisy. Thundra had all of those, especially the first two, in abundance, and at times came across as a mixture of Neu! and Hawkwind intent on harnessing the raw tempos of ESG. I quite dug it, and they more than kept my attention. If I were to complain a little, which I feel justified in doing since I did actually play close attention, is that they had a number of very good, insistent parts that built up nicely but didn't quite resolve into anything else. A little more emphasis on the hooks in the transitions and they'd be quite nice. I know I'll definitely look twice the next time I see their name in the paper. I'd like to see them again.

Big A Little A are from Brooklyn, and the name sounds familiar to me from those Todd P mailing list emails I used to get. I can't admit to having seen them before. I also can't admit to digging their name very much, but the kinds of band names that play on language have gaining in prominence for a while. Nobody consulted me whether I like it, and I doubt anyone will, but I can deal. As for the music, very bluntly: having 3 drummers in a band is a great idea. Period. But also one that can get old very quick and where you need to be on your toes with your ideas. Aa's first few songs were slightly spacey jams that incorporated some interesting Carnaval-style drums. Percussive and interesting enough to yield a decent song, I did find myself losing steam by the end of the song. But then they changed it up with a darker, more electronic-inflected number that reminded me of a slower Nitzer Ebb tune and really took me by surprise. And the set continued to go through different moods, all the while retaining its emphasis on percussion. I'd be glad to snatch up a record of theirs for repeated lessons, and if there wasn't such slim pickings in the bank account now, I probably would have. Some of the drum beats were a bit quaint, like Samba-junior. But shit, if these guys went to Rio for a year to study drumming, they'd come back and write a legendary record. Seriously.

An Albatross. When I was in the Bad Form, we had a show booked at ABC No Rio around 2000 where we were supposed to play with them. They didn't show up... and neither did half the Bad Form (we still played). But I still haven't seen them! They seemed like nice enough dudes, and I've been curious to check them out a few times, but things didn't change today. I had work early the day, and not enough steam in me to go without decent sleep, so I skipped out. Next time, then!

Tomorrow: a Skabs interview!

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home