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.
Last Saturday, Ottawa’s own Ultra Love kicked off the show with their melodic, high energy set. The trio played with an element of raw and rough emotion which came through in the vocals. The guitar and bass created a balance for one another, while the drums pounded in, driving the emotions pulled right into your chest.
The vocals came out as ragged and untried, both from Pascale and Eric. Their voices come together and create these harsh and angry red hues that, instead of fighting, blend together and contrast the instrumentation.
While the guitar nipped at you with its cold, high pitched tone, the bass flowed in smooth and warm. It created a unity between the differing forlorn sounds. Ted’s bass playing rumbled out in the background, emitting warm reds and ochre’s, remaining subtle, while the Pascale’s guitar playing provided a prominent green and blue splash across the scene.
The drumming came in rapidly, and assaulted your ears before providing a backbone and holding the tempo or diverting the band into an unexpected shift. The closed hi hat aided in building intensity before releasing it through complex fills. The kick hit you directly in the chest. The drumming will at times hold back, and other times create tension with abrupt stops or starts, following the guitars rhythm.
Urochromes, from Western Massachusetts, were up shortly after Ultra Love. The duo made use of nothing but a drum machine, a guitar, and vocals in order to capture the attention of the crowd, and draw them in. Try to imagine if a hardcore show took place in an episode of Seinfeld, that’s what you get here, except that Urochromes is actually really good.
The vocals came out as raucous and deep, delivering the lyrics in a manner similar to that of spoken word poems. Deep burgundy ripping into the scene as Jackie spat out line after line. In combination with the drum machine, the burgundy got splattered with burnt ochre, and pumpkin orange. Dollops of yellow burst through after the assault of the snare and kick subsided. The ride cymbal provided a colder contrast and allowed white to bloom.
The guitar chugged with distorted power chords and bright riffs. It painted the soundscape as a variation of azure, sapphire, and rose. In songs such as ‘Negative Thing‘ it swayed between those hues, adding in the occasional burst of yellow or a vivid green. The tone was crisp and at times it came off with a crunch.
Urochromes played one of the strangest and most expressive sets that I’ve witnessed. They never missed a beat and kept it humorous while also keeping it dynamic through and through. The duo doesn’t fail to show the crowd a good time. They got bodies moving, people laughing, and all in all, probably hoping that the set wouldn’t end.
Headlining were New York’s Show Me The Body. The band’s explosive sound does not hold back in the least. It batters your ears without remorse, including melodic components while delivering grimy riffs overtop. Listening to their recordings, you can tell there’s something that’s unlike what all other bands are doing but until you see it you wouldn’t be able to tell what. If you were to tell someone what that is, it is a banjo, they might laugh and tell you it’s the most ridiculous thing they’ve heard.
Harlan, the bassist, started by messing with a drum machine and some pedals before violently bursting in with the basslines shortly after. He destroyed any form of calm that there might have been. He flew through scales flawlessly and painted the venue all shades of deep orange while maintaining a raunchy tone.
Julian’s banjo replaced your standard guitar and added a dissonance that you don’t normally achieve. The melodies added over the drum machine slowly but surely turned into abrasive power chords which meld with the rumbling basslines. The pitch of the banjo created a stark blue contrast to the cider colour the bass emit.
His vocals ripped through the night. Whether they were spoken, screamed, or sung, they we all spit filled and anger fueled. They’re rough and rip from the back of the throat. Julian gives the performance his all. Nearing the end of the set, he had started to bleed but true to their sound, he plowed through.
The drumming came through as full and warm, maintaining a mildly repetitive but steady tempo. It was an absolute powerhouse that provided a beat that everyone would throw themselves around to. In combination with the thick and booming bass, the drumming was what set the mood for the brutal pit.
The band finds a perfect balance of brutality and tranquility. If anything is to be learned, it’s always carry a backup banjo, and don’t be a dick – you’ll get your beer swiped and phone shoved if you are.
All in all, the bill was one well worth seeing, and if any of these bands come to your town, buy your ticket immediately. It’s a show you don’t want to miss. In the meantime, check out some photos I took below.