Saturday night (13 February) was Wavelength’s very loud and very electric night, the night that I had been waiting for. Back at The Garrison (1197 Dundas West) the evening began with Versa, a post-rock and live painting performance band. They were dressed in white, like the scientists of sound and colour that they are, painting sonically as well as visually. Their performance was a sort of mix of punk free-form rhythmic and visual jazz. Their set involved a lot of loops, sounds that I didn’t know could come from a bass guitar, a saxophone and colour constantly dancing in the background.
For my interview with Versa, click here
The next act was Partner, returning from earlier in the day for an electric set. In my interview with them, lead singers Josée Caron and Lucy Niles told me that they preferred electric sets to acoustic, that it was more of their natural habitat. This set proved that and did not disappoint. With their funny and potent stage presence, banter with the audience, guitar harmonies and killer songs they proved that they were a force with which to be reckoned.
The third act of the night was Beliefs, a shoegaze band. Their use of a tight rhythm section, swirling, chiming and feedback-ing guitars matched the light and fog to take The Garrison to a trippy place.
The penultimate act was Soupcans, an old school punk band (though more Black Flag than The Ramones.) This band opted for intensity over elocution and their undecipherable and yet somehow no less infectious lyrics were never sung but always screamed. They were absolutely worthy of a mosh pit, and a mosh pit there was. They also displayed some diversity by playing slower, Black Sabbath-like songs, where they bashed their instruments like cavemen. Pausing only long enough to take a swig of beer, their set was a short one but full of intensity.
You can tell right away that some acts are special, that you will remember some performances for a long, long time. It was like that with Montreal’s Duchess Says, who immediately galvanized the crowd with energy and who was my pick of the festival two songs in. Everything about the band was catchy and lead singer Annie-Claude Deschenes made sure that everyone in the room was into it by quickly jumping into the crowd to make sure that everyone was engaged. The energy was so incredible that at times there were mosh pits, at times everyone was dancing (including audience members on stage) and once everyone was on their knees as Annie-Claude walked through the crowd.
This performance not only may my festival, it made my month and will be remembered for a long time. Having Duchess Says was wavelength’s masterstroke and proved that they are the underground festival to beat.