COOKIE DUSTER at the Rivoli, May 4. Tickets: $7. Attendance: 150. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
when leslie feist and jose con- treras commandeered the mike and added vocals to Cookie Duster's woozy space rock Friday night, the set suddenly took shape.
The Toronto-based outfit headed up by bassist Brendan Canning and keyboardist Bernard Maiezza has a great blueprint, an intriguing mix of billowy soundscapes spiked with flashes of retro pop.
It clicks on disc, and at the Rivoli the event took on the feel of an exceedingly hip supper club on Venus. This music is an obvious extension of Canning's DJ gigs.
Whether by accident or design, the industry was out in force with Sony, Zomba, Universal and Linus among the labels represented. Good sign. But while the visual component of the show -- images on a huge screen behind the group -- enhanced the vibe, there were points throughout the evening when things felt baggy and too loose.
No matter how competent the playing -- and it was, by any measure -- instrumental music, especially of the ambient variety, tends to become wallpaper after a while, even if Canning was clearly having the time of his life while Maiezza, hands scampering across the boards, was working an honest day to keep the bloop quotient up.
In a different setting this would have been an ace gig. Standing in the Rivoli and focusing on the stage, there were some looong moments with little action, though people seemed to be digging it.