Maybe it was the fact that critical acclaim doesn’t always translate into any sort of mass appeal, or maybe it was because of the myriad of other shows going on this night (including current CiTR sweetheart, Fanshaw’s CD release), but for whatever reason, nobody was in a hurry to head down to the Biltmore to catch HEALTH on their latest stop in Vancouver.
Despite a delayed start to the evening’s festivities, the room was still sparsely populated when Myths took the stage to kick things off. The lack of an audience didn’t weigh on the duo of Quinne Rodgers and former Mutators
singer screamer Leif Hall who politely thanked those already in attendance “for showing up early,” before launching into their set. Performing sans backing band, the pair sang, screamed and, thanks to some nifty effects, stretched and distorted their vocals over backing tracks that featured industrial drums and dark, grinding synths. Good on you, if you showed up early enough to catch them.
As a few more bodies started filing in, Nü Sensae launched into an amped up performance that was typical for them: loud, short and sweet. The band seem to have taken the old adage that you should “leave them wanting more” to heart, and my only complaint is the same one I always have when I see them live—that I could have used a few more minutes of Daniel Pitout’s thumping, chaotic drumming and Andrea Lukic’s snarling bass and equally snarling voice.
Health is a strange beast. There’s always some sort of pervasive rhythm underscoring the squall of underwater coos, thrashing drums and squealing guitars that lends a strange, danceable quality to the band’s compositions, but at the same time, the noise they make seems much more visceral than musical. That idea was evident in a performance that turned the Biltmore’s stage into a tangle of flailing hair, thrashing bodies and by the night’s end, a resting place for four exhausted musicians to catch their breath.