PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES with TANGIERS and the SOUR KEYS at the Mod Club, August 25. Tickets: $15. Attendance: 335. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
I guess if you're gonna do this whole post-punk thing, you gotta sweep your bangs to the side, fold your arms and look like you couldn't be more uninterested.
It was nearing 8 pm Thursday night when Brantford's Sour Keys served up a barrage of loud, grungy noise from the Mod Club stage. Even as drummer Mike Lurz hammered away at his drum kit, people sat cross-legged on the floor as if Joan Baez were performing. No joke.
Things remained unchanged when Tangiers introduced themselves, although the docile crowd had grown by that point. Tangiers ventured deep into the new wave/art rock territory fiercely defended by Franz Ferdinand and Hot Hot Heat, dishing out crisp, well-ironed songs suitable for spastic dancing. I expect some of them will turn up on their new album, The Family Myth (due out October 4).
Each tune was loaded with positive tension, with "bob your head from left to right, now right to left and back again" instructions woven into an epileptic, propulsive melody.
Seattle's Pretty Girls Make Graves had everything it took to shake us from somnambulism. Ferocious guitar riffs all hopped up on punk's riot-inducing aggression, solid drumming and succexy lead singer Andrea Zollo belting out her neuroses while standing bow-legged. They were spooky, especially during the encore, when newly acquired keyboardist Leona Marrs injected the creepy theme from Halloween into a song.
Zollo encouraged action, telling us to "feel free to dance around, have a good time, act stupid." Did anybody listen? Three or four serious punks, but that's it.
PGMG's music pushes you to the edge of something - something bigger, something brighter and something so beautiful you won't stop yourself when you fall. It's unrelenting.
If DFA 1979 is the new violence, this is the new romance.