Weaves Drive Targ Coo Coo at JUNOfest!
Photos by Owen Maxwell
While certain shows are just better than others, it's always a treat when you get two top-tier headlining sets for the price of one, let alone when the openers are this good. So for those who caught Partner and Weaves at House Of Targ on April 1, it was non-stop lunacy throughout the night.
Scary Bear Soundtrack
Starting the night off on a much calmer note, the synth-driven outfit, played through their open and electronic set. Mashing harmonies with their overtly political songs, it was a joy to see them play through "Blanket Burrito" and "The Longest Night."
Cranking up the night's dance groove, the surf-rockers brought the silky vocals and delicious beats to have people moving on the floor much earlier in the night than expected. The undeniably tight rhythm section complimented by the consistently velvety work on guitar and vocals, especially on "Dry" made for memorable opening set.
Never letting their position on a bill affect the quality of their set, these New Brunswick rockers tore through the Targ stage with endless fury. Playing through songs like "Hot Knives" and the newer "Comfort Zone" they were freshly charged and full of guitar move after guitar move, especially iconic with Josee Caron's classic rock double-neck guitar.
After some April Fool's jokes about a very extended set, they kicked into banger "Let The Chips Fall" pushing jumping dancers into the ceiling, and Caron came into the crowd to bring the show even closer to the fans. As Lucy Niles snuck in sips of beer any small break she got, they launched the crowd into chants of their single "The "Ellen" Page," prompting a lot of frantic singing and dancing to close off a set you would've thought was the headliner until….
While the headlining band always have a distinct feeling when they come on stage, these noisy Toronto art-punk had the most peculiar energy of any noise-rock band around, and had the explosive songs to match.
As they played through "Shithole" singer Jasmyn Burke moved around with an equal parts creepy and entrancing demeanor, frightening as much as she entertained. Making off-putting eye-contact with the crowd, her band-mates wasted no time putting on their show as their guitarist played with his mouth and their bassist put his face inches from the crowd and even stabbed his bass into the audience.
Heading into "Coo Coo" Burke alternated singing with different members of her band, commanding with her collected sense of aggression, that always felt more implied than overt. Dragging the tossed microphone stand around the stage in their seemingly non-troubling tangle of wires, the band let nothing phase them. Burke took the beautifully chaotic show even further when she grabbed the venue's mannequin, singing with it, hitting it into the ceiling and throwing it across the stage.
Blasting through "Motorcycle" the crowd sloshed around rowdily, knocking over drinks and falling onto the stage several times. Harnessing the crowd's energy Burke sat down on the drum riser and gave a heartened speech about women in rock and roll, and the systematic problems in the music industry ending appropriately on "I don't got time for that."
Going from an off-kilter jaunt with stabbing guitar lines to the devastating distortion best represented on their performance of "Birds & Bees" the band was a force of nature, tearing the stage a new one, and even the equipment as Burke proceeded to hit the bass drum with her microphone for a visceral moment sonically and visually.
As they brought the set to its peak on "One More" they not only got the crowd thrashing again, but broke into solos as well, all the more fun as Jasmyn and the crowd chanted "Silky" to the guitarist while he slinked his fingers in time with them. The drained cries at the end of the song were matched by the consistently and intentionally ugly faces Burke made to accent the muddy sound of the music. Closing the song Burke called the crowd onto the stage who flooded out to dance the song out.
The band's unique set was closed with the surprising round of "O Canada" leading the crowd through the song before walking off the stage on a note that was unique to say the least. Capping a night that kept giving while asking only for the crowd's best energy.