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Sunday, 6 October 2013

Lightning Dust September 2013

Lightning Dust + Louise Burns  |  Il Motore

SYNTH SOUNDS  |  SEAN ZUMBUSCH
       PHOTOS  |  VALERIA VEGA

I think I will always remember this show as the time that I had to get to Il Motore from La Cite, the big rehearsal space close to the Papineau Metro station where all the metal bands in town congregate. It was jam night for my metal band, and so I had to book out of there a little earlier than usual and go straight to the venue. I ended up taking a bus to one of the blue line stations in what was, to me, previously uncharted territory and slowly came to the realization that I have not really explored the city of Montreal east of rue Berri with the exception of La Cite, the Hot Soupe show at Lion D’Or, and that one time I had to visit the rental office for my first apartment in Montreal somewhere on the east end of rue Ontario.

I felt like such an Anglophone. I really should have taken the time to explore the city a little more if I wanted to truly become a Montrealer (I needed to learn French, too, but I’b been taking classes for that). I felt like a bad, dirty man for not having done so yet. But yeah, there was a thing with bands at Il Motore. The turnout for this show was not as strong as some of the other shows I've seen by Blue Skies Turn Black, which bums me out. They even put up tables to make up for the greater amount floor space. More people needed to see this. Louise Burns opened.

Louise Burns is an artist from Vancouver, BC, and she plays with a group of well-dressed musicians. There was a My Bloody Valentine influence with this band, as they employed similar breathy vocals and weepy guitars. The drums were minimal and there were synthesizers. While the crowd for this band was small, the people there were dedicated and grooving along with the music. The synthesizer setup was interesting as the keyboardist used two MIDI controllers with a MacBook. He told me that he mostly used Ableton for the sounds but did, from time to time, use Reason - the Subtractor synth in particular - with the latter program. I liked it. Louise has a knack for writing good vocal melodies, and she has a nice, silky voice. It’s just too bad that there are not more people out there that have heard it. 

Watching Lightning Dust come on stage and set up their equipment blew me away, as their collection of synthesizers will impress any synth geek. Among their collection of gear is a Dave Smith Prophet 600 and Mopho, a Nord Stage, an Arturia Minibrute, and a Moog Voyager. The drums are a mix of both acoustic drums and a sample pad. While some songs were accompanied with an acoustic guitar, their set was largely synthesizers along with Amber Webber’s voice. Webber also happens to be a member of the well-known  band, Black Mountain.

Lightning Dust began their set by asking everyone to come a little closer to the stage, as it was a small crowd, and everyone did just that. They blasted everyone’s ears with some spacey synthesizers and danceable beats, and everyone soaked in the sounds and grooved along with the music. It was a more chill kind of crowd, so nobody got too crazy with their dancing. It was good, though. I found the layers of synthesizers quite soothing and relaxing, and the vocals buttered me up with good hooks and a nice timbre. Next time, more people need to come out and watch this band.




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