Starting off tonight’s noisy proceedings are the sole Canadian representatives on the bill, Ken Mode. They belt out a ferocious blend of hardcore and thrash with a slight progressive slant. They’re good, but onstage the intensity of their music doesn’t quite come across properly. One problem that detracts from their set is that for a large portion of the gig, the singer has to struggle with a broken mic stand. He eventually resorts to holding the mic in his mouth with his teeth!
The promoters of tonight’s gig should have posted a sign on the door of The Lamplighter with a warning. It should have read “Anyone of a nervous disposition or of a fragile emotional state should proceed with extreme caution. Daughters are playing.” This band don’t do songs in the traditional sense of the word. Each track is more like an individual experiment in aural torture. They don’t so much ‘play’ their instruments as inflict random acts of violence on them. Despite very brief moments of ethereal beauty, the sheer chaos that they create is genuinely disturbing.
After the unsettling maelstrom of Daughters, Pelican were comforting and serene in comparison. Frustratingly, for the first few tracks the full force of their music was weakened by sketchy sound mixing. This was eventually rectified, thus allowing the guitars to reach their true monolithic magnificence. The majority of their set was comprised of new material, much of which saw the band pursuing a faster and heavier direction. If the new songs aired tonight were anything to go by, the new album should be a blinder. Due to the full-on visceral impact of Daughters, the far more subtle, thoughtful approach of Pelican was somewhat overshadowed. However, they still managed to provide a solid performance that just fell short of the mesmerizing potential of such monumental music.