Making your way to the Black Sheep Inn is always an adventure, often simply based on the music you will hear there. On Saturday, March 29, attendees were lucky enough to hear the experimental & experiental collide as Suuns & Scattered Clouds took the stage.
Suuns stand under the umbrella of “serious music” — there is no way to step into their zone without coming to a conclusion. Ours was that this kind of music belongs in an amphitheatre or cathedral. The principal flush of guitars against a power-driven percussion are essential but easily overshadowed by the maestro on the synth & keyboards. They played from their first album and their second, Images Du Futur, which may or may not have been influenced by the civil unrest of student demonstrations in Montreal’s streets in the spring & summer of 2012. Their bio hints as much, just as the name of the first album, Zeroes QC, also offers a clue into their name: “suuns” is the plural of zero in Thai. Their label, Secretly Canadian, seems like another clue… an even weirder one when you realize it’s an American company.
Their tracks are powerful and macabre. “2020” is the future they foresee, brought to terrifying life on the soundtrack to Only God Forgives, directed by Nicolas Winding.
The interpretive dancing of the local flavour was seared into my mind and no descriptive writing is going to help me get over what I saw. “Your music won’t save you,” is the droning mantra of Suuns’s third song, and was the theme of the evening. I saw their vocalist/guitarist Ben doubled over himself but holding his guitar level to the floor, and the first five minutes of their set was monotone distortion with all band members save the drummer Liam hunched over dials & knobs like evil toads. The darkness throughout the set was often pierced by anthem-like riffs and pulsing bass that had the crowd seizuring. Check out Matías’s interview with Liam O’Neil of Suuns here.
Hull’s own Scattered Clouds opened for the double-stacked Québecois bill. The direction of their experiments might be fueled by the ghosts of Jim Morrison & Ian Curtis. Their sounds come from places musicians don’t often look: between the saddles & the bridge of an electric guitar, or along the string tree, or even just within an electric stand-up bass. Their 25-minute set was an ode to their minimalist, effective, nothing-wasted approach. Their single “People Walk” was handed to everyone who walked in the door as a free CD.
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After their set, Pierre-Luc the guitarist & Philippe the bassist shook hands, having fended off whatever unnamed horror that only they could perceive. At least that’s how I saw it. “The Music of Erich Zann” definitely came to mind during the opener. Lovecraft must have heard something similar to write in his short story: “…I heard sounds which filled me with an indefinable dread–the dread of vague wonder and brooding mystery. It was not that the sounds were hideous, for they were not; but that they held vibrations suggesting nothing on this globe of earth…”