This had all the promise of a grand evening. Calgary psych-noise innovators Women were slated to play in the dim-lit, nostalgic ambiance of East Vancouver’s Wise Hall, a suitable venue for their fuzzy noise-pop sound. As the headliners, Women dutifully played last, but were afforded far too little time on a bill filled with comparatively mediocre opening acts. Kristin Cheung, organizer of promotion collective Vanity Presents, explained that the shortened set was due to Wise Hall’s residential setting and the possibility of violating noise bylaws if the show went past midnight.
Church of Very Bright Lights began the night, lamenting the fact that they had come from Calgary to play only five songs. Unfortunately, their music mirrored this apathy somewhat, sounding like a Pixies inspired hobbyhorse shared between drinking buddies.
In comparison, Vancouver’s Kidnapping was a welcome revelation. The trio’s sound was explorative and unpredictable, floating through bleak, melodic freak-folk balladry (“City”) into the futurism of New Order-ish synths (“The Dance of Petrified Conditions”).
Beers were poured and conversation was had while Nü Sensae took the stage. Singer/bassist Andrea Lukic and drummer Daniel Pitout tried dutifully to tear the crowd a new one with their raging spurts of punk, but not everyone in the audience was dialed in.
When Women finally assembled, busy lead singer/guitarist Patrick Flegel openly stated to the crowd that it was going to be a quick set. Songs like “Black Rice” and “Group Transport Hall” received rushed treatment, with Flegel singing like the fast forward button was on. Even newer songs with more intricate composition and improvised sections got pushed through. Whether they were tired from waiting around all night or they felt pinched because of time constraints, Women’s performance lacked some of the usual sonic charisma and ceremony that makes them a sight to see.