The rain finally stopped. The Swedes were here. Horisont walked our eastern grounds for the first time ever. So if you missed this show, you missed out. I always say, “Everything from Sweden is good!” because 90% of my favourite bands come from there. It’s totally biased, but I will stand by this statement after witnessing this show.
First band to open the night was Montreal’s Mountain Dust. I was talking to bassist Hal Jaques prior to their set, telling him that I was in shock that I have never actually seen them before. I just purchased their latest LP Nine Years, and I was stoked to hear this live at one of the best underground, DIY venues in the city. Brendan Mainville scared the crowd by screaming a Robert-Plant-like “BABY!” into the mic, opening with “Evil Deeds” which is one of the bluesiest, rockiest, grooviest tunes on the album. Good for you, Brendan, for waking us up and starting the night that way.
The night got a little heavier when Memphis, TN’s Dirty Streets hit the stage. While they all look very young, and I am sure they are, their musical ability proves otherwise. You’d think these guys were coming out of the ‘70s with years of musical experience behind them. Influences include Grand Funk Railroad, James Brown and Cream. While each member of the band was in their own bubble going on stage, watching them each perform was pretty mesmerizing. Drummer Andrew Denham was twisting his foot on his drum pedal while moving his body around. They performed tracks like “Accents” and “Think Twice” off their latest release, White Horse. The sound was actually pretty perfect (way to go Turbo Haus!) and I could actually hear Justin Toland’s vocals crisp and clear, which was a treat.
Last but not least was the headliner of the night, Horisont. Not to take away from the first two acts, which were great, but as soon as these guys began, it felt like I’d been taken to a new dimension. I’ve been a small fan of this band for quite some time now, and I haven’t heard the new record, About Time, until now. These guys look like your typical Swedish rock ‘n’ roll band: tall – VERY tall; long hair, beautifully kept facial hair, and bell bottoms galore. As their bio describes perfectly: “Theirs is a sound that harks back to the dawn of the 70s, when a new clutch of heads decided it was time to harsh the 60s hippies’ mellow and paint it black.” Indeed. Influences include Blue Oyster Cult but (maybe they are not a fan) Axel’s vocals come very close to Geddy Lee or even Roger Hodson.
What I loved about Axel in particular during this set was his interaction with the crowd. He introduced every song, gave credit to who wrote which songs in the band, and at one point during a song, he casually walked over to the bar, ordered a drink, and watched from the back. The casual fun and laid-back attitude of this band was impeccable, and made the entire night more fun than ever. The music was busy, but in a good way. So much was happening on stage (being a big piece band to begin with), but it worked. They forked out a ton of great tracks off the latest album like “Electrical” and “Hungry Love.”
After the show, I praised guitarist Charles for the great set, and he mentioned how the smaller stages are the best stages. I have to agree!
Written by Liz Imperiale
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Kate Erickson