by Elena Gritzan
There were two shows happening last night at the Silver Dollar, and I almost ended up at the wrong one. A U of T Battle of the Bands was apparently taking place downstairs, but the real magic was on the upper floor at a show put on by Silent Shout. No band battles here, just four bands working together to create some dark electronic wonder.
The last time I saw Akua was during NXNE. Since then, she has moved to Toronto and is playing without a backing band. Being on stage by herself makes in-between banter a bit more sparse (she was full of requests for the audience to chat as she prepared her next song), but the minimal beats allowed for great focus on the most winning part of her sound: her incredible voice.
Montreal’s Marble Lion had an entirely different focus, using vocals as just one layer of their sound textures. They made quick jumps across a wide range of volumes and levels of expansiveness, though much of the crowd seemed a bit too talkative to really appreciate it.
Prince Nifty’s music is a combination of pretty much everything: elements of folk, dance, noise, and R&B thrown into a blender. And the result is tasty. He played a selection of the more dance-oriented parts of his discography, upping the tempo as he went. Looking around the room, there were a lot of people lost in their heads, dancing uninhibitedly and getting lost in the music.
Bad Passion slowed it down to finish off the night. There’s a lot of love around here for Alt Altman and Lesley Davies’ ultra-cool electronic R&B project. A Toronto show from the pair is a rare event but was well worth the wait. They serenaded us with the gorgeous “Liquid Fire”, the heartbreaking “Rockin’ Your Beats” (did you know it was the first song that they wrote together?), and even brought some new songs to the surface.
They are working on an EP based on Harrison Ford movies, and revealed the first song, “USA”. When the audience burst into a chant of “USA, USA!” at the song’s end, Altman replied with, “We knew this would happen.” The set’s end was met with shouts for an encore, but they had no more songs to play. Most bands would apologetically thank the audience for being there and hop off stage, but Bad Passion gave the people what they wanted, taking a vote as to which song would get a repeat play. “USA” it was, carrying us off into the night.