THE VERMICIOUS KNID with the Woolly Leaves and Ohbijou at the Rivoli, January 3. Tickets: $6. Attendance: 95. Rating: NNNN
Who knew there was more going on in Brantford than backyard hockey rinks, mullets and the consumption of Ex by the caseload? Apparently not Toronto music fans, most of whom missed last Saturday's show at the Rivoli . Barely half full, the club hosted several acts from the unlikely burgeoning musical epicentre.
Vermicious Knid took the stage just before midnight, quietly tuning up while thanking those who stayed. The quartet had a humble hush about them that screamed upstanding middle-class upbringing. But the boys' music quickly dismantled any notions that they represent rural godfearing normality.
Frontman Ryan Stanley came across as a man possessed, and the small stage seemed a box that was barely able to contain the feral leader.
Stanley appeared to be scared shitless of himself. His bandmates' unchecked energy hardly helped; they raced through their set as though slowing down for even a second would result in some kind of implosion.
Their name comes from the greyish, squishy leech characters in Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, and while they may have sucked some blood from Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and Sebadoh, they are definitely their own beast. Bassist Brian Ward 's solid, quirky yet funky technique has more in common with Minutemen-era Mike Watt than anything Lou Barlow or Kim Gordon ever played. Add great drummer Jesse Shanks to the mix and you have a rhythm section to be reckoned with.
The Knid's loud and powerful set contrasted nicely with the opening acts, both of whom played acoustic guitars while trying in vain to awaken the spirit of Jeff Buckley.
Ohbijou 's sparse arrangements set against fragile, lilting vocals easily won over the crowd. Kinda like Cat Power without the inevitable mental breakdown.
The crowd was less receptive to the Woolly Leaves , a two-piece outfit reduced to only Whil Kidman and his six-string for the Riv show. Club chatter about what everyone did over the holidays easily drowned out his quiet strum and whispering drawl.
It was a pretty disappointing performance by Kidman, who seemed to want to be anywhere but onstage. His delivery lacked anything approaching conviction.
Any inconsistencies were forgiven by the time the Vermicious Knid finished their great set. Now fans have another compelling reason (besides visiting the birthplace of the Great One) to go to Brantford.