Next to a lovely crisp autumn night, checking out some live acts is gravy in my books, and this performance did not disappoint. The blend of acts was perfect, and I’d be hard-pressed to say there was a dull moment!
I got to Turbo Haus with a few minutes to spare before local act Oktoplut hit the stage to kick off the night. The room was already half-packed with folks continually streaming in. Comprised of two members, Larry on drums and vocals and Mathias on guitar and vocals, these cats were a great start, bringing their punk-rock-stoner-pop sound with a fury of energy. I really dug Larry’s vocals, and he pounds his skins to match! Mathias was fun to watch shredding at his guitar. That dude has a ton of pedals, but the effects added were subtle and not over-the top, which I appreciated. Their closing track “Sous Le Pont” stuck out at me, opening with tribal-sounding drums and really catchy riffs, and by the end morphing into a nice doom sound.
Next up was Toronto’s Biblical, and I was stoked to finally catch a full set; the last I saw them was at Heavy Mtl last year, but I only arrived in time for the tail end of their set. These cats bring an amazing stoner-rock sound with an energy that’s hard not to absorb. The bass and vocals provided by Nick Sewall had me in a small trance – the bass just shone through so nicely, and his raspy vocals were groovy whether he was singing heavy parts or not. At some points the band thrashed around so much I was expecting a collision to happen! They have great chemistry on stage, and you can tell they love what they’re doing. Some songs like “All Justice No Peace” were dotted with touches of surf-sounding riffs which I loved. Don’t miss these guys if you’re a stoner rock fan!
The third act was another band hailing from the province of Ontario, also a duo, called Indian Handcrafts. Daniel Allen (guitar and vocals) and Brandyn Aikins (drums and vocals) brought a stoner-rock sound notched up to 11. I loved the blend of their sound spiced with brutal-sounding vocals, and at some points I almost felt Daniel was channeling King Buzzo of The Melvins with his vocal style. Chants of “Fuck yea!” could be heard from the crowd between songs, among them “Bruce Lee” (the video’s a fun watch, check it out) and “Zombies” to name a few. This was yet another act that proved sometimes, less is more.
Finally, Montréal’s USA out of Vietnam hit the stage. I can’t believe the last time I caught them was back in 2011! The timing gods have made me miss many of their gigs since, and seeing them this night reminded me to catch them as often as I can from here on out. Frontman and guitarist Son of Fogman started the set off with some banter, and he’s a funny dude. I liked his quip about how it’d been a long night, it would be okay if everyone wanted to sit or sleep down on the floor, and he’d be honored by a “sleeping ovation.” Good luck falling asleep to these guys, though, because their intensity on stage commands attention. They played tracks off their upcoming album, the first song titled “Drugs Aren’t Working Anymore,” which put me in a mood I can’t quite convey. Some of the lyrics just got to me, coupled with Son of Fogman’s vocal style. Also, this cat is what I can only describe as majestic to watch as he plays his guitar, and I quickly found myself completely absorbed in the music. Their sound can perhaps be described as a mix of stoner rock with psychedelic and doom elements, but in the end they have a sound that’s unique and hard to peg down genre-wise, which make them that much more intriguing. The song “Laser-guided” was particularly intense to take in, and their chemistry was magnetic. These guys are tight, and if they’re playing in your town, don’t miss them. Here’s a live video to give you a taste, but nothing beats the real thing.
Written by Angie Radczenko
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Kate Erickson