Student Teacher’s knack for folding distorted, heavy guitars drenched in reverb was noticeable at their opening set at the Waldorf Hotel. The band’s penchant for underground echoes was apparent in “Left For Dead”, a ten-minute dirge blending solid drums and gritty guitars. Needless to say, the set felt as if it should have been performed in a basement, as the room didn’t lend itself to the band’s thick rumble and fuzz. Despite this, a cover of Black Tambourine’s “Throw Aggi Off the Bridge” was without a doubt one of the highlights of the night.
Steeped in new wave signifiers, Mode Moderne were next to take the stage. Their performance communicated gloomy and melancholic tones while Clint Lofkrantz’s pacing bass and Rebecca Law Gray’s synths led the crowd into an absorbed and drifting state. Though for the first few songs, Mode Moderne seemed to lack solidity, “Radio Heartbeat” eventually showcased the outfit’s echo-driven sound. Singer Phillip Intile, sporting a black, short-sleeved shirt, blended the focus of his deep, commanding voice with the bleak gothic undertones of the band. Between the retro-futurist currents of their sounds, Mode Moderne’s set became one of sincerity and surreality.
Recent Captured Tracks signees Blouse took the stage while snow fell outside. Like labelmates Soft Metals and Cosmetics, Blouse balances soft-focus synths sounds from the ‘80s with a ghostly modernism. Charlie Hilton’s vocals were intimate and haunting atop the group’s heavy dusting of drums and pulsing bass lines. The Waldorf’s deep red curtain backdrop somehow lent itself to the heavy tonal landscapes of “Time Travel.” “I was in the future yesterday/ But now I’m in the past,” Hilton sung on the atmospheric track. Other highlights included “Firestarter” and “Into Black,” two tracks that spiralled outwards from the band, swathing the room in a gentle blanket of fuzz.
That said, Blouse’s set occasionally seemed tense and rushed, especially during “Videotapes,” but despite this, their music evoked a trance-like state within the audience.