AIDS Wolf’s Special Deluxe (aka Chloe Lum) demonstrates how she does those blood-curdling shrieks Thursday at the Boat.
Thu, Jan 8
AIDS WOLF at the Boat Rating: NNNN
In the post-Avril Lavigne era, it's hard to imagine punk rock evoking any trace of the transgressive and revolutionary ideas that once fuelled the movement. This sanitization of the genre is what makes the barely listenable, eardrum-grating cacophony of bands like Montreal's AIDS Wolf important and worthy of the masochism needed to appreciate them.
Philly noise terrorists Satanized set up the headliners well with a barrage of angular discordant rock, often sounding like a thrash metal band playing free jazz. The club was already full, and the sloppy mosh pit was eager to bounce around to their chugging skronk rock.
AIDS Wolf also tread some weird middle ground between experimental improv and punk rock, but sound even less connected to anything musical. It's like they took everything that normally makes a song pleasant to the ear and deliberately did the opposite. Repetition and rhythm are the only elements you can recognize as music.
On paper this sounds awful, and it's even worse in person at deafening levels (which is kind of the point, I suppose). But there's something inexplicably hypnotic and engrossing about this train wreck of a band.
They may look like wimpy art school kids, but their noise could have squeegee-wielding gutter punks covering their ears and running for the exits, terrify the most hardcore metal heads and make Green Day sound as threatening as Tom Jones. This is exactly what a modern punk rock band should be doing.
Fri, Jan 9
SLAYER PARTY at 751 Rating: NNNN
Local promoter Steve Rock lived up to his name Friday night, showcasing epic guitar tracks at his fun and fast-growing rocker paradise Slayer Party. Mixing tracks off CDs and a laptop, Rock (aka DJ Jackie Death) and his wing gal Steph Hoff had 751's sound system cranked to 11, blasting hits by Deep Purple, Iggy & the Stooges and, of course, thrash-metal pioneers Slayer.
Though 751 doesn't always have crazy crowds, the head-bangers and irony-seeking hipsters were squeezed tight into the upstairs for the night. One benefit of DJing ear-shredding rock is that conversation becomes impossible, so partiers realize that dancing is the most logical activity - which is exactly what they did here.
Packing the floor space in front of the DJ booth, the crowd - which included members of local indie rock outfits Born Ruffians and Foxfire - rocked out to Van Halen's Jump and Joy Division's She's Lost Control with rowdy, drunken energy.
Sat, Jan 10
GUH at Mitzi's Sister Rating: NNNN
Toronto's Guh have been making bewildering jazz-not-jazz since 1992 but in recent years haven't been around much on the live circuit. Most of them have at least a few other projects on the go. (You've likely seen various members onstage with Feist, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, Sandro Perri, Broken Social Scene, Rock Plaza Central and many others.)
When trumpet player Brian Cram was asked if they were playing regularly again, he answered, "Well, we play regularly about once every three months, so I guess you could say we've got a tri-monthly residency at various venues."
While the project may be mainly a casual pursuit these days, that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep your ears open for their sporadic shows. For the uninitiated, the ever-changing Guh lineup usually includes two drummers, and players on bagpipes, various horns and guitar. This particular gig featured a violinist.
The tunes draw from jazz, but also from many other kind of music as well, like psych rock and dub reggae. It's often chaotic and over-the-top, and the band has an odd cult-like vibe. Though this kind of freak music will never be popular on a large scale, it'll never sound dated, since not much else sounds anything like it.