Spiral Beach, Hey Rosetta!, Redbluegreen
Steven Morgan 24/11/2009
Those present at this show were lucky enough to witness something special. By the means of some form of Canadian government sponsored arts fund, Hey Rosetta! and Sprial Beach were offered the opportunity to tour the world in a neatly subsidised way so as to demonstrate their fantastic showmanship internationally. Go Canada!
Kicking off the night were London based act Redbluegreen, who couldn't miss an opportunity to welcome our Canadian guests, offering the delights of pollution and knife crime as the great draws for tourism. The crowd was still filling out as they took to the stage with their indie-rock that yearned for the stages of stadiums. The guitar drips with echoing distortion, the piano is belted as though it's been band and needs to be punished whilst Andy Future belts out memorable lines dripping with confidence and swagger. Overall, it's a familiar format and tellingly the music can get a little MOR at times, but the power in execution gives the music more oomph live that would be difficult to translate in the studio. Song by song, the band seem to loosen up as the set progresses, climaxing with a cascading crescendo that sees Andy writhing as though he's belting out the words for the first and last time ever.
Next the powerhouse six-piece of Hey Rosetta! took to the stage. Their epic indie anthems share much in common with their fellow countrymen Arcade Fire as the wealth of instrumentation is put to full use in order to create a giant, urgent sound. They kick off with There's An Arc, which belts with tight staccato to contrast its tender, lightly delivered introduction. It's an attention grabber and sets the pace for the rest of the set. Live, these guys display a wealth of individual talent that's harnessed in a controlled way, holding their egos in check for the sake of a great song. It's a trait that seems common with many of their fellow countrymen like The New Pornographers, Most Serene Republic or Broken Social Scene. As each song stands out in its own individually striking way, it doesn't take long to work out how these guys got shortlisted for this years Polaris Music Prize. It's a true pleasure to see a band of this calibre on this tiny stage in Hoxton and most likely one that will not be repeatable.
Taking the evening in a change of direction, but not an unwelcome one is the other fine Canadian export, Spiral Beach. They may look just old enough to purchase alcohol, but this band have been pumping out a wealth of material since 2005 and on tonight's performance long may they continue to do so. Their sound is refreshingly difficult to pin down with elements of surf rock and Everly Brothers harmonies amongst eerie layers of electronic noise and guitar FX. There's more than a hint of melodrama to their sound which conjures mental images of seventies b-movie posters and their exaggerated emphasis on the mysterious and the unexplained. Their sound recalls bits of The Damned, The Raveonettes and even noise stalwarts HEALTH which gives you a rough idea of their direction musically, but they've managed to convincingly put their own fingerprint on it all. By the end of the set the band have gotten the crowd moving a little, but you feel with a slightly smaller venue and a night later in the week, these guys could easily get the crowd eating from the palm of their hands.
Photo the property of Ro Cemm