Ev has synesthesia, and they incorporate their sensory experiences into music reviews. Synesthesia is a condition in which the brain links a person’s senses together in a rare manner, prompting unusual sensory responses to stimuli. People with synesthesia, for example, might see a certain color in response to a certain letter of the alphabet. Those who experience synesthesia “hear colors, feel sounds, and taste shapes” in a remarkably consistent fashion.
On a Wednesday night, the 27 Club hosted a lineup of smashing bands. Breaking boundaries of restrictive genres, the show consisted of four bands that crossed their own respective sounds. Swaying, dancing, moshing, and singing took over the hot club on a hot Ottawa evening.
Rocking an indie pop vibe were openers Pronoun. Their fun and upbeat sound swirled through the room and painted it various shades of yellow dripping with vivid cotton candy pinks. The upbeat and light guitar paints the sun even in the darkest of places. Like the sun shines through some rainy days – if that moment had a soundtrack, Pronoun would be it. Melancholic and yet contrasted by the chords that painted a soft joy, the guitar remained clean through each of the songs. The vocals crescendoed from soft and mellow to loud and soulful.
The drumbeats held a full and warm sound but they didn’t reverberate as the guitar and bass did. Even so, the bass placed itself in the background, hidden behind the guitar. It built dimension and strengthened the overall sound the band wanted to convey.
The band painted the overall soundscape teal blue, dandelion yellow, and specks of a dark cyan. They built up a summer vibe and played away the rainy glum with a bit of sunshine, that made you want to dance in your bedroom.
Next up were a band called Oso Oso. They rang in the night with a pop-punk feel that pushed toward indie punk. They held an airy and light sound while releasing some light aggression through the choruses. They painted beach party vibes with clear ocean blues, lavender, and rosé. Oso Oso sprayed bright yellow splashes through the drumming and used the cymbals to contrast it. The toms and snare gave off different hues of yellow and filled the room with a warm and golden vibe.
The guitar swirled the lavender and rosé colours together in a bright tone. It provided you with something to sway to while it simultaneously filled you with nostalgia. Guitar solos intertwined the cold blues with ease and made them hard to miss. Having danced with the bassline, the two instruments tangoed, blending into one another and created a depth of sound that muddled together – almost undetected. Hidden in the background, it stitched everything together.
The vocals were higher pitched and yet when harmonized which created a unity that seemed to tie the songs together. Mellowed out and smooth, aggression builds up but not in the same crescendo like manner as Pronoun. Rather each song is a buildup to the next.
After Oso Oso were the ever anticipated Angel Du$t. They were loud and full of aggression that became prominent through the live performance. Sharing similarities with bands such as Culture Abuse, Angel Du$t put on an electrifying show. Deep sea greens, vivid reds, lime green, and sky blue hues soaked the room in bursts of colour. The roaring of the guitar brought on a sense of pent-up tension that yearned to be released while the vocals let out the upheaval. The pace chugged on and the slides added a new level of tension to the songs. The buildup painted the scene dark green with maroon bubbling up from underneath.
The bass ragged on and provided vivid reds from underneath the guitar. It was enraged while remaining the skeleton of said rage. It was the structure that the guitar seemed to follow – the bass leads without leading. Deep and rattling, the basslines camouflaged themselves behind the riffs and distressed chords the guitar emanated.
The drumming found itself full of rolls and rudiments that reinforced the cold hues. Each beat fell in quick succession to the last and the toms were heavily relied on. They produced a thick and round sound. The snare sounded very brass cat – meaning it’s softer but produced a smooth aggression. They generated a swift and powerful backbone to the structure created by the bass.
The vocals were deep and strained, unlike anything I’ve listened to before. Ranging from smooth and even to ragged and strained, the vocals came in either exasperated shouts or drawn out and steady. They painted the room bright reds to muted burgundy and got the crowd to scream along as they opened a mosh pit.
After the chaos that ensued during Angel Du$t, Citizen tackled the stage with undying nerve, energy, and passion. They won over the crowd with somber sounding chords and painted the room murky blues, periwinkle, and gentle pinks with the song “In The Middle Of It All.” Tension built up through the songs and mellowed out through the verses. The further the guitar progressed and the more violent the sound became, the bolder the blues and purples stood out. It was overdriven and painted a sea of mellow aqua, pastel, lime greens and bright blue. The somber sound crashed over you in a wave of emotion and tugged at the heartstrings.
The vocals melded into that fit but kept a steady tranquil tone, strained when there were lyrics to be emphasized and drenched in emotional turmoil. They held half a pop punk and half a grungey feel to them. Soft-spoken one moment and poignant the next, it was enough to have brought someone to tears.
The drumming was cold, bony, shallow and hollow. It took over with its acuteness and drove the intensity through the compositions. Stacked on top of the guitar riffs and basslines, it rang through the room and created a Pollock-like masterpiece out of the vibrant cold hues it splattered across the scene. The drumming protruded through the soundscape.
The bassline didn’t draw that type of attention to itself but it still remained powerful having kept the tempo through and through. It added the blooms of bold blue and deep purple to the scene while keeping integrity and grit. While it did reverberate and blend into the background, it was still prominent enough to have created a distinction between the chords being picked and the deep hollow rumble.
The bands managed to capture emotion in striking ways, the whole range of them. If ever you’re in need of a good time – getting your mind off someone, releasing anger, needing to feel something – these are the bands you want to go see.