Montreal alt-rock band, Diamond Tree held a release party on Saturday, September 3rd, for their second EP, The Will to Evolve. The show featured three bands and a live painter, and took place at the intimate Crobar. It was an eclectic night of good music, cramped spaces, poor scheduling, and poor sound quality.
The show finally kicked off around 9:30pm with the experimental instrumental band, Room Control. Playing tracks off their upcoming EP, Past the Breakers, they opened up with “Down the Rabbit Hole,” a slow psychedelic track that somehow had me thinking of outer space. Though the band was a little stiff in their stage presence at first, they grew more comfortable with every song they played, and finally began to move along with their music and their audience towards the end of their set.
Jar the Artist stood in front of a wall close to the stage for the duration of the night, painting as the musicians played. Watching him paint fit strangely well with Room Control’s music. Though the first few songs sounded similar, different layers and aspects were added to make each track feel almost as though the sounds were telling a narrative story. With “In Pursuit” and “Commando” came a new theatricality from the band, with dramatic pace changes and pauses. Stefik became a flurry on drums, resembling the likes of Animal from The Muppets. I do not mean this to say that he was drumming aimlessly (he had rhythm), but rather that his drumming became insanely fast, frantic, and fun to watch (perhaps Dave Grohl is a better comparison). They finished offed with “In the Valley of the Dying Stars,” a song that opened up with the sound of crickets and showed off their cinematic background. It went from putting the audience in a trance-like state to having them headbang, and even produce a small out of place mosh pit. Though they sold some presale copies of Past the Breakers that night, it will officially be out in October.
The Feedbackers went on next with their classic rock set. Even before they began playing, they gave off a vintage vibe, with singer Mike Gerbasi clad in 70s style sunglasses. They opened up with “Better Ways,” and there was quite the contrast between their music and Room Control’s. They were reminiscent of bands from the late 70s and early 80s and had a similar sound to The Cars. They immediately began having fun with their set, dancing around the stage, and weaving through the audience on the floor. It was fun and feel-good, and Gerbasi’s voice was incredibly strong. At times the sound quality in the room was not at its best, and the vocals became a little overpowered, making it especially difficult to comprehend band members when they addressed the audience between songs.
Though at times they were a little corny by saying things like, “I like to hear you guys,” or pulling the classic, “I can’t hear you,” there was something very likeable about their banter. They showed a great amount of confidence. Their music somehow managed to get even groovier as they played tracks “This is the End” and “Apologies,” the latter of which they ended off by jumping on the stage chaotically, much like The Who in their heydey (minus the pyrotechnics and breaking of guitars). Arguably the highlight of their set was their performance of “Unholy Ghost,” a track that opens up with a Hendrix-esque riff, which had solos and vocals so powerful, it had everyone screaming.
Unfortunately, between the delayed start and the length of everyone’s sets, the show ran way too late. For this reason, I was only able to catch the first four songs of Diamond Tree’s set. That said, the four songs I did catch were as eclectic as the show itself. “The Trip” was a slightly generic mellow track, with simple but smart lyrics. The band was natural on the stage, moving around confidently throughout their performance, and getting everyone to move with them. “I Feel it All” sounded a little bit like garage rock, fused with some retro backing vocals. At times lead vocalist Dave Tone, and the general sound of the song was reminiscent of Weezer. The last track I caught them play, was a fun reggae-inspired track that was both fun and relaxing; it was one of those tracks you could both dance to and enjoy with your eyes closed. Aside from the disorganization and sound quality, it was certainly a show worth watching.
Written by Franca G. Mignacca
Photography by Stacy Basque
*edited by Danielle Kenedy