Monday, 1 April 2013

Wolfheart + Mad June + Diamond Bones at Divan Orange

Wolfheart + Mad June + Diamond Bones at Divan Orange


I really like attending shows at Divan Orange. The DIY punk aesthetic, spacious yet intimate setting, location, and good brews on tap make this particular venue a favourite of mine. There were much less people here than at the Elephant Stone show I covered last month, but there was still a sizeable amount of music fans out to watch some quality live entertainment. This show was a little different from most of the events that I
have covered thus far in that a vast majority of the performers for the night were female; it was a very nice and refreshing change from the usual testosterone-driven nights that I usually cover. There were three bands for the night that all played fairly different styles of rock music, so it was a nice amount of variety for the evening.

The first band for the night was Diamond Bones. They are a synthesizer-driven three-piece; there are two keyboardists (one of which also handles guitar and vocals while the other also plays bass and sings) and a drummer. I have to admit that I am usually quite partial to synthesizer-driven bands, and this group certainly did not disappoint. Their music was a blend of ethereal soundscapes, textures, and powerful female vocals played over tribal drum beats and catchy basslines. They used a wide variety of sounds in their music, from thick pads to buzzing saw-waves, sequenced guitar feedback, and even some rhythmic samples. I think one could compare their quite tasty jams to either Unknown Pleasures-era Joy Division or early Cocteau Twins. This evening was clearly off to a good start.

Mad June followed, and they are a band that plays pop punk with some really great choruses that just scream to be sung along with. They are a six-piece that has two guitarists, a bassist, drummer, keyboardist, and vocalist. Everyone in the band other than the lead vocalist sang backup vocals. The vocal leads were expertly sung, while the guitars supplied the right amount of grit. The bass and drums were locked in step to create a stellar groove, while the keyboards added a lush dimension of sound to the rock n’ roll grime. The front-lady gets a few extra points from me for the fact that she made the attempt to cross the performer/audience barrier by jumping off the stage and rocking out with the crowd while she sang. It’s always a good move to make, in my opinion. After they finished, there was a break and the night’s headliners entered.

Wolfheart are a power trio from Victoria, BC. Their roster includes a bassist, drummer, and guitarist/vocalist. They play a style of music heavily inspired by 90s grunge, and they have a quite energetic and inventive rhythm section. I was quite taken with their bassist; he moved around on stage quite a bit (a plus) and had some serious fretboard chops. Despite the lo-fi nature of the group, they did not shy away from using vocal effects, as the vocalist used a looper pedal on her vocals for a few numbers. It made for a nice layering that would otherwise not be possible in a live setting, and her voice itself had a very pleasant timbre that melded with the music very interestingly. After their set, the night wrapped up and I was on my way to get greasy late night cuisine at one of the local vendors and then back to my apartment.

Out of all the bands that played, I was the most impressed with Diamond Bones. They demonstrated a strong talent for finding interesting musical textures with which to work, and they write really memorable songs. They are a good, tight trio, and I strongly recommend that the reader sees this band the next time they perform. It’s well worth the price of admission.

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