ikara colt with sahara hotnights at the Horseshoe, April 3. Tickets: $12.50. Attendance:350. Rating: NNN
You had to be impressed by the turnout for Ikara Colt's debut Toronto appearance at the Horseshoe last Thursday.With ice pellets hammering down from the sky apocalyptically, I figured only a handful of diehards would show up and was shocked to discover a jam-packed club. It's not what you'd expect for a fresh-outta-the-gate outfit. I guess the nouveau-At the Drive-In (catch 'em before they break up!) buzz didn't hurt.
For their part, the adorable Brit post-punk art school rockers kept the crowd captivated. Jagger-swaggering frontman Paul Resende delivered witty anecdotes about being held up at the border ("Of course, we finished our drugs 20 minutes before crossing -- we're not stupid!") in a charmingly clipped accent while his bandmates teased the "notoriously stiff" Toronto crowd into a dancing passion.
Ikara Colt's aggressive, spiky garage assault was tight if not innovative. They seemed slightly bored playing the same old material, mostly from last year's Chat And Business disc. It's hard to blame them, since all their songs sound identical, Resende yelping anti-melodic vocals over guitarist Claire Ingram's raucous swarm of jaggedly lovely Rickenbacker tones and flailing drum and bass lines.
Even their one ballad, which they announced to the crowd ("It's not a power ballad -- we're not Nickelback or some shite"), slithered with the same wannabe-Wire lurch. To make matters worse, Ingram's high-pitched harmony vocals faded into the background of the poorly balanced sound mix.
Not to say Ikara Colt didn't deliver. It's just that Resende's been so righteously indignant about the unique, non-derivative nature of his band's music in the press. I say it's better to own up to your influences.
Take headliners Sahara Hotnights, for example. They don't claim to be anything particularly new or novel, just an all-grrrl Ramones-Stooges-Runaways ensemble for the 21st century. And they're damned good at the kittens-with-bite act, serving up searing guitar solos alongside lead singer Maria Andersson's endearing warble.
Nothing warms you up on a freak ice storm night in April like seeing ladies who rock hard firstname.lastname@example.org