Clearly, Cold Cave is a band that appreciates the value of mystique. Nearly all of their releases—of which there have been many—have been available only as extremely limited vinyl and cassette editions. When they perform, they turn off all of the front lights and crank up the smoke machines, so that they appear as dark silhouettes. They rarely utter even a single word to the audience and spend the bulk of their time on stage hunched over synthesizers.
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The foundations of Kool Haus shook Wednesday night with two bands that know exactly what a rock and roll band should sound like. Australia’s Wolfmother, famous for their hair and incredibly loud guitar-driven rock, headlined the evening with the support of Cincinnati’s Heartless Bastards, who opened with a stellar performance of their own and are sure to be headlining in the not too distant future. Guitarist and singer Erika Wennerstrom sounded especially solid during the Bastard’s performance of “The Mountain,” conjuring Siouxsie Sioux with her vocals. The audience reacted positively to the Bastards’ set and I’m sure most would have been happy to hear a few more songs from the band, despite their obvious anticipation for Wolfmother.
It was like driving through a dark night with David Lynch at the wheel. Mount Eerie, the moniker of Phil Everum who also has released albums as The Microphones, has always been more on the human side than most musicians dare venture, exploring the outer regions of cerebral metaphor. Elverum has also proved himself to be adept in his collaborations with others, most recently with Julie Doiron for 2008’s Lost Wisdom.
It was an unseasonably warm November night in Toronto and the humidity inside the El Mocambo had many patrons wearing t-shirts and thirsting for beer. After a considerable wait, the Fiery Furnace’s guitarist and co-founder Matthew Friedberger stepped onto the stage inciting cheers and whistles. Drummer Bob D’Amico and Bassist Jason Loewenstein accompanied him. It wasn’t until they had instruments in hand that Eleanor, the group’s other co-founder and sister to Matthew, made her appearance causing fans to bolster their enthusiastic greeting. A quick wave from Matthew and the show was under way. Lowenstein led with a bass line that sent the speakers crackling, making them sound like they would inevitably blow. A few adjustments on the sound board had things back under control before the rest of the band joined in.
In the vain of kids who grew up listening to ABBA and dreamed of playing to millions with a blast of arena rock against some catchy pop hooks, Sweden’s The Sounds are all about delivery. The five-piece has been around for a decade and has slowly seen their popularity increase in North America, allowing them to sell out increasingly larger venues. Though this was the last night of their North American tour, The Sounds seemed far from exhausted while on stage, giving the audience their all.