Concert Review: POWERS EP Release (2011-11-04 @ Parts & Labour)
Parts and Labour is a funny venue.
Its low ceilings are reminiscent of high school/post-secondary basement parties (thankfully without the cobwebs and disgustingly dank corners of filth), and a few industrial garbage cans adorn the floor space under the central room-dividing rail to collect the beer cups and cans … which also makes it feel a little more like a basement party… which, with it being located underneath a restaurant… that’s exactly what it is.
What set Friday Nov.4th apart from these past reckless attempts at party-dom was that we had a live band present that didn’t suck or sound like regurgitated radio trash – yes folks… we had PWWWERS!
I write it like that because the Toronto electro-pop quartet really likes the letter “w” and plays it up in all their marketing… also because I woke up Saturday morning with a giant red “W” on my right cheek, as the red marker from my “stamp” at the door had imprinted there when I fell asleep with my hand on my face.
For those not familiar with Powers, the Niagara-diasporic orchestral indie rock band once popularly known as The Ghost Is Dancing has spent the past few years reforming themselves as a four-piece electro pop act, and their hard work definitely shows here on their debut EP release Po\//ers. I had the chance to catch them recently at the September Steamwhistle Unsigned show and they put on one hell of a blue light-soaked live set.
This show at Parts & Labour proved to be no different.
Well maybe a little different – the gang bought new lights: black ones.
Taking the stage after a hectic setup – with synths, keys, controllers, and the aforementioned lights all seated atop what appeared to be un-mounted corkboards – guitarist/vocalist frontman Jamie Matechuk reached up to the string of Christmas lights dangling from the ceiling and fumbled for the plug… and pulled it. The black lights immediately generated a blue haze over the band – who had all donned white t-shirts moments beforehand – and made the teeth of everyone in the packed audience within 15 feet glow like they’d just finished consuming a handful of radioactive smurfs.
Their now-released four-song EP is a nice piece of electro-pop work: layered guitars, live percussion and samples overlain with plenty of effects; but it doesn’t really do the band’s live show justice. There were a few technical issues throughout the show – with Matechuk and fellow vocalist Lesley Davies passing the lone working microphone back and forth a few times to get all the vocals in where needed – but the band ultimately powered through; a strong statement from a fantastic live performance.
The dance-inducing songs might feel like they get a little repetitive in some of the sampling, but it’s SUPPOSED to be – it’s anthemic pop at its purest, most easily evident when the crowd erupts into gyrating dance before quickly joining in on the singing, because let’s face it, Powers are one hell of a fun time.
I said Parts & Labour was a funny venue; clearly you’ll have a least a little fun if you catch a show there – but especially so if it happens to be Powers.
- Review & Photos by RYAN STEPHENSON PRICE