(INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY at the Reverb, April 18. Tickets: $13.50. Attendance: 600 (sold out). Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
as anarchists, you'd think the
members of mod/punk dandies the (International) Noise Conspiracy would finesse a border crossing into Canada at Montreal on the cusp of a controversial world trade summit. But no, they rolled up to the customs booth with a busload of revolutionist literature.
Perhaps INC reckoned their immigration papers, describing them as musicians and therefore obviously lovers, not fighters, would assuage niggling doubts about their agenda despite the rather unusual cache of merch they were hauling alongside their snazzy Ts.
Whatever the case, neither a four-hour border delay nor confiscation of said "propaganda" could deflate the spirits of the righteous and disarmingly diminutive Swedes. They similarly refused to give in to icky band-wide illness, instead commanding a packed Reverb Wednesday like fashionista preachers on a rock and roll pulpit.
That was especially true of springy singer and tambourine tapper Dennis Lyxzn and bassist Ludvig Dahlberg, with the former flinging his mike toward the rafters Daltry-like and catching it every time, while Dahlberg hopped back and forth like a chimpanzee with a brand new toy.
Combining the raw energy of punk with the more refined elements of 60s-era psychedelia, right down to their suits, INC were a blast to behold, notwithstanding Lyzxén's ongoing rants about Quebec City and the fact that keyboardist Sara Almgren hid behind a sheet of hair all night. (Sara, you're cute as a bug -- let it shine.)
The absence of Lars Stromberg's guitar in the mix, however, scuppered the final impact. Things might have sounded fine at the front-of-house, yet in the crowd it was bass, vocals, the steady thumpada-thump poundings of Inge Johansson, but precious little six-stringed scorch.
Pleas to the sound man -- from a respected local musician no less (yeah, OK, it was Neil Leyton) -- failed to produce the hoped-for results. Drag-a-go-go, daddy-o.
By all accounts, INC's support slot for Rocket from the Crypt came nowhere near the mind-melting throwdown witnessed last October when the collective paired with At the Drive-In.
Sickness, prickly border guards, odd mixes -- all things considered, still a powerful show.