Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Austra, Grimes, and Black Lodge at The Earl (Pictures)

Don't fear - Rocktober is officially dead and over - stick a fork in it and see for yourself - and I'm not going to cling to it (too much, but it really was great), but before moving back to the normal postings, here as promised (threatened?) are a final set of pictures from Sunday night's show at The Earl, starting with the opener, Atlanta's Black Lodge.

This is a very young, very new band, apparently just getting started.  It's actually a privilege to get to see a young, new band still learning how to command a stage, how to get the balance right, and how to keep an audience entertained.  This is how you learn - get a chance to play at The Earl, do your absolute best, and see what went right, what mistakes were made, and how things can be improved.

Statistically, it's most likely this band will not make it very far.  Members might get a chance to join other bands, or they'll get frustrated by the long road ahead, or just lose interest in the project altogether.  But every band started this way, playing in front of a cold bar full of strangers who've never heard of them, so already they're no further behind than any of their peers.


Montreal's Grimes set up on stage and did her sound check wearing a big winter coat, but things heated up quickly as her music kicked in and everyone started dancing, led by her "designated dancer" Duffy, who was in the audience getting the enthusiastic crowd moving.  

Really cool bangs.

Claire Boucher (Grimes) has an amazing, four octave voice that she often keeps in the higher registers for a "little girl" pop sound that nicely fits the dance groove of her music.  With all her electronics on stage, it was hard to tell how much of her vocal sound was altered and how much organic, but does it matter?

I thoroughly enjoyed her set, and was sincerely sorry to hear it have to come to an end.  It would be great to hear her as a headliner some day, where she could stretch out a little more and play a little longer.  But then again, my favorite band is always the one on stage at the moment.


Scary bass dude behind one of Austa's two back-up singers.

This was a truly great show.  Visually arresting and musically propulsive, there was always something going on to hold your attention.

Singer and frontwoman Katie Stelmanis' operatic background and training was obvious, not only in the sheer power of her voice, but in the careful, nuanced way that she shaped her mouth and throat for each sound, deliberately forming and bending each note as an instrumentalist might.  

Austra's two back-up singers are sisters Sari and Romy Lightman, who also have a solo project called Tasseomancy.  In the background is drummer Maya Postepski.

The scary bass dude is Dorian Wolf.

All music, without exception, is a direct expression of the buddha-dharma.

Katie Stelmanis at the merch table after the show, flanked by Grimes' designated dancer Duffy.

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