by Michael Thomas
Stepping out of one’s element is always a great feeling, and Friday night for me was a contrast from the two previous nights of music. Wednesday I saw a lot of badass Guelph bands, Thursday I saw some refined Arts & Crafts performances. Last night featured multiple mosh pits, musicians coming off stage and lying on the ground while shouting and elaborate stage setups involving sequins, feathers, and some strange glittery pinata.
I am talking about the Daps Record showcase at Sneaky Dee’s, and it was quite a spectacle. I know this is true partially because I lost a bit of hearing, which means some rock and roll definitely happened.
The first band for the night was Hussy, a four-piece band who were really, really loud. Most people who had just walked into Sneaky Dee’s immediately put their hands to their ears and/or stepped back a little. I had earplugs. The music was fuzzy and rocking but not frantic. The drummer was absolutely ferocious on her set, and the band seemed to revel in the noise-rock that is their craft.
Deciding to shake things up a bit from my usual habit of staying in one venue for the night, I hopped over to the Rochester, which is literally steps away from Sneaky Dee’s. There I saw C T Z N S H P, a three-piece band from Montreal. There was an absolutely heartbreakingly low presence to watch them, which was disappointing because the band was actually really great. The guys play with an indie-rock sound with a lot of passion behind it, and you can get a taste of their set at the bottom of the article.
I then went back to Sneaky Dee’s where I stayed put for the rest of the night. It turned out to be a good plan. Up next on the bill was Hellaluya, another noise-rock group but with a totally different sound. It started out with a sample of some guy talking about orgasmic music or something before the band kicked in. The lead singer/shouter was never still at all, during the first song coming to the front of the audience and lying down on the floor. At the end of the set he actually went into the audience and sort of moshed before returning to the stage. I couldn’t understand a word that was said, but it didn’t matter. The noise was an atmosphere, and it got everybody pretty excited.
Before I knew it, Sneaky Dee’s had filled up for Odonis Odonis, a Toronto band that had apparently added a new member. No one from the band said a single word in between songs except a “Thank you” at the end. Instead they delivered their loud and energetic rock without breaks, and a mosh pit broke out seconds after the beginning of their first song. The psychedelic colours from a projection screen made the set feel like a rave. Pretty quickly everyone was coated with sweat. I also couldn’t really comprehend lyrics, but again it didn’t matter at all.
One of the big draws for the night was the midnight time slot, belonging to none other than Phèdre. I had heard of this band before but had never heard their music until last night. What an experience that was. Their set began with sampled sounds of birds and I think dogs, before some guy covered with a silver blanket-like thing came on stage. Then, through the audience, came someone covered with red holding a moon staff, and two or three people wielding giant fans. Then the two main singers came out, one of them wearing a silver half-mask.
If the above description wasn’t enough of a hint, this band is absolutely crazy. Their music gears toward electronic with the flavour of hip-hop, but the spectacle of the show is what Phèdre are all about. Just as thrilling as the music are the elaborate backup dancers, crowd-surfing lead vocalists and minutes-long freestyles (courtesy of the guy previous covered with the silver blanket).
My words can only do so much. The band is definitely one to experience, whether you end up liking them or not. You won’t see too many sets like it. I was definitely grooving along with the rest of the (very sweaty) crowd.
Daps Records defnitely has some really different bands on their roster, and the showcase really showed what these bands are capable of.