PLASTIC BAG at the Horseshoe, March 11. Tickets: free. Attendance: 100. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
there is, as dubya would tell you,something to be said for overwhelming force when subtlety just won't do.Over the past few years, Plastic Bag have earned a dubious reputation as Toronto's loudest and heaviest band; ears are still ringing from their infamous CMW showcase at the 360 more than a year ago. There's no real refinement to the group's power rock, just sheer brutality and a suffocating density matched by the volume at which they play.
Producer Ian Blurton has done little to blunt the edges on the Bag's new Chemical disc, but it's live that the group is particularly punishing.
At Tuesday's record release gig, the band was its usual blowtorch self, with towering frontman Eric Bridenbaker shrieking furiously and guitarist Cam Bull grinding out power riffs and rattling the bowls of pretzels on the bar.
There was the typical roar, but something was missing. Maybe it was the slim crowd, but Bridenbaker didn't have his usual eye-popping intensity. The decision to skip Middle Man --- the group's pile-driving hit-in-waiting -- wasn't a good idea. Neither were the hushed power ballads that showed just why Plastic Bag has favoured brawn over lyrical subtlety.
Still, it was hard not to be impressed by the sheer brutality of the band's trademark closer, Chemical Man. A lurching wall of noise masquerading as a song, the tune left those in the Shoe paralyzed and folks in the club's front bar, and presumably all along Queen West, wide-eyed in shock. Well done.