Wavelength 2014: Friday

Story & Photos by Bryan Sutherland

Wavelength 14 is the fourteenth instalment of an annual music festival featuring artists in venues across Toronto, running from February 13 until February 16.

Adelaide Hall is a new addition to the Toronto venue circuit that shows great promise. With friendly security and bar staff, the room can be engaged from two levels with a surplus of audience-directed monitors to guarantee a solid listening experience regardless of where you’re stationed. For the second night of Wavelength 14, the crowd was treated to the impressive customized visuals of Toronto artist Ferenc Stenton. For this night, a giant heartbeat at the centre of the room made effective use of projection mapping technology, which served as an ever-evolving centrepiece for the performers to unleash themselves beneath.

MATROX

MATROX

MATROX
Extraterrestrial robot humanoids MATROX opened the night with their trademark electronic doom pop, bringing smiles to a room that was slowly filling up. A glitchy sound check did not discourage the early attendees from bobbing along to their steady beats, and their mechanized stage presence had definitely taken a step forward from previous shows. The movements between members seemed more synchronized, their armor had been upgraded, and they demonstrated an enhanced command of their equipment. The greatest instrumental appeal would definitely be the effective use of live vocoders in a mix that feels mostly pre-sequenced.  A classy sax solo served as a thoughtful finale, before instructing the onlooking humans to disperse. The only criticism is their de-masking on stage for the audience to see, proving that the members of MATROX are, in fact, human after all.

Most People

Most People

Most People
Melodic tech-folk duo Most People were a surprise addition to the bill after Marnie Stern’s flight delays caused a last minute cancellation. The pair unleashed an enhanced version of their previous performance (last seen at Wavelength’s ALL CAPS festival in the summer of 2013), testing a more climactic set of material to work up the crowd. The powerful jam was executed with a fluidity that not only showcased their skills as musicians but their brotherly connection as friends. Fleet Foxes comes to mind when describing their aesthetic though they are an entirely distinct sound, blending soulful hymnals with organic and minimal electronics. The material arched seamlessly between old and new, creating an admirable landscape as a whole, with clever banter in between. Aside from their musical talents, you would be hard pressed to find a more neatly trimmed pair of beards in this city.

Weaves
Singer Jasmyn Burke embodied a savage elegance that was impossible to disengage from. She confronted the audience with an intense yet personable gaze and produced vocalizations that oscillated between that of a pop diva and a spirited megaphone wielding revolutionary. While spastic guitars drenched the hall with psych authority, her soulful battle cries remained the main source of power, distracting from the glaringly obvious lack of live drums. Crucial moments in songs like ‘Motorcycle” fell short without the explosive dynamics only a full kit can provide. Even without a proper explanation they were met with great enthusiasm during a live setup we can only expect to be temporary.

Odonis Odonis
Odonis Odonis owned the night with their sinister industrial grunge. Frontman Dean Tzenos sang like he was battling demonic possession, backed up by the tight shouts of bassist Denholm Whale and drummer Jarod Gibson, playing his trademark electronic Frankenstein kit. Always brooding over something dark, the trio have an unrestrained mastery of their sound which feels both wildly chaotic and heavily controlled; a dominatrix could lash someone to a surfboard and generate the same flux between fun and dread. The cult like synchronicity of an OO performance always produces a collective presence that will thrill onlookers in any venue. Their haunting thrash is executed with such ritualistic precision that the audience shares in the experience exclusively as an outsider.

DIANA

DIANA

 

DIANA
After a glowing introduction from Indie88, DIANA took the stage to the cheers of an ecstatic crowd. Leader Carmen Elle commanded the show from start to finish, masterfully performing material off their Perpetual Surrender LP with a confidence so engrained it can only be described as graceful. I was initially surprised to see her emerge beneath a baseball cap and leather jacket, which deviated somewhat from their online avant-garde imagery, but these items were soon discarded making way for her specialized vocal crooning and energized guitar work.  DIANA’s set contained a wide range of emotions, and was a fitting climax to another eclectic bill from Wavelength.

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