G iven the major studio enhancements dominating the debut of Winnipeg's Jet Set Satellite, their currency as a live band was always in question. Yet it turns out their influences have done them more harm than ProTools ever could.
Playing Lee's in support of Jay Englishman Thursday, the core duo of singer/guitarist Trevor Tuminski and keyboardist/guitarist Dave Swiecicki plus band were competent players, lacing their otherwise thudding industrial rock with airy bits of acoustic guitar. Tuminski, looking slightly uncomfortable at centre stage, loosened up eventually, but it's doubtful he'll ever be anyone's idea of a riveting front man.
But it wasn't long into the set before Jet Set Satellite started to sound awfully familiar, though not like their Blueprint debut. Who is that singing? What are those oh-so-dark lyrics and what about the... Got it!
Nine Inch Nails. Like, exactly, circa Pretty Hate Machine, except with less scenery-chewing grind and palpable anger.
Looking around the room, it was clear the realization was dawning on people, since most at the gig were undoubtedly acquainted with tiny terror Trent Reznor and his primal scream rantings. And considering Reznor's free-falling career, there's not much demand for a NIN clone band. At least not on this planet.
Jet Set Satellite don't deserve a beating. They're young and still growing -- shit, they did their first-ever interviews just this year. But exposure to different types of music would open up their songwriting frame of reference and help them develop a more unique sound. That would be a very good thing.
JET SET SATELLITE, opening for JAY ENGLISHMAN, at Lee's Palace, September 7. Tickets: $12. Attendance: 75. Rating: NN