Solid Choice Industries have been working hard of late to bring acts from a little off the beaten musical path to our shores recently and they’ve been doing an excellent job of it so far. Friday 23rd of June’s show in the Limelight 2 was however, to my knowledge, the most eclectic and experimental line up they’ve put on to date.
Opening act Robocobra Quartet take to the stage a little awkwardly however vocalist and drummer Chris Ryan’s stage banter was able to make up for the lack of stage presence and even seemed to play off of it to a certain extent. Musically the band made for an impressive opener, the drum and bass guitar combo in the rhythm section had genuine groove and was capable of packing a hefty punch in the truly intense and impressive crescendos, all of which was offset by a frenetic and jarring brass section to great effect. All in all the four piece really can’t be faulted on a musical level, they could perhaps stand to work on stage presence just a tad, making the gaps between songs a little shorter and less awkward.
Next to the stage is Jessica Moss of the Canadian Post Rock ensemble Thee Silver Mt. Zion. With just a microphone, violin and a pedalboard, hers is a stripped back, minimalist performance incorporating elements of folk, classical and ambient music. Making extensive use of a loop pedals Moss invoked a moody atmosphere creating layer after layer of dark violin and vocal melodies that wouldn’t have been out of place scoring an arthouse horror film. Eventually in what was more or less the climax of the set, Moss set down her violin and pushed her microphone to one side and began focusing solely on her pedal board as the loops she had laid down continued to run. From there she was able to alter frequencies and oscillations and such until all of the loops had formed into one long ambient drone. Moss’ set was a subtle and understated piece of sound scaping and mood crafting that was carefully crafted and obviously meticulously practiced.
After watching headliners Zu I feel like I now have a better understanding of what it would feel like to be hit by a train. And I mean that in a good way. This band’s music is relentless and for as much as their style is intended to sound like absolute chaos they are obviously well rehearsed and incredibly tight. Powerful heavy metal drumming is accompanied by an almost hardcore punk style of bass guitar and truly intense, distorted baritone saxophone playing as the uncompromising three piece lay into their set, pummeling the audience song after song, with barely a minutes respite throughout their entire performance. With a good command of dynamic range, quiet more reserved sections offset the absolute mayhem of their heavy sections to great effect. Overall the set was excellent but it has to be said that after a while songs did start to blend into each other and become a little indistinguishable but the intensity and the passion that came across in the delivery more than made up for it.
Review by Thomas Charmichael
Photos by Steven Donnelly