August is a weird month for live music: half of the people you know are leaving for vacation (does everyone but me have a cabin on Hornby Island?), and the other half are too burnt out from the onslaught of festivals and shows in July to bother coming out to the Cobalt on a Tuesday. Those who did show up, however, were wise to do so, as the trio of performances from Kim Gray, Muuy Biien, and Hockey Dad were worth the late summer excursion.
Local shoegazers Kim Gray opened up the night to a modest crowd of dudes in five panel hats and oversized tees. Between the hazy vocals and the reverb-soaked guitar, it’s hard not to picture Kim Gray as a bootleg version of King Tuff. Nonetheless, with the exception of a false start at the end of their set, the band pulled off a very fluid performance.
“Frank Sinatra” had the audience politely swaying back and forth, and “Why is Red?” even garnered a little dancing. The set would have benefitted from some more interaction with the audience, though. A little stage banter might have helped liven up the dreamy atmosphere Kim Gray had created by the time they’d hopped off stage.
It wasn’t until Georgia natives Muuy Biien plugged in that the burgeoning Cobalt crowd genuinely snapped to attention. After an immediate demand for all the lights off from frontman Joshua Evans (most likely so we could better see his glow-in-the-dark t-shirt), the group wasted no time in completely turning the night on its head. Muuy Biien’s undeniable energy quickly got the venue pulsing, with one song after another replete with the kind of blues-meets-punk sound that only comes out of the southern States.
Where Kim Gray was shy and subdued, Evans turned Muuy Biien’s set into a genuine spectacle, peppered with scissor kicks, pelvic thrusting and convulsions fit for a Hollywood exorcism. Despite not being able to understand much of what they were saying, Evans and company undoubtedly won the crowd over with their audacious attitude and jangly guitar riffs — a perfect musical segue into the final act of the evening.
At this point, the Cobalt had become heavy with sweat, and stepping outside before the top billed Aussie duo took to the stage became a necessity. Upon re-entry, Hockey Dad wasted no time in establishing their musical motif, with Zach Stephenson’s sugar-sweet vocals contrasted against Billy Fleming’s raucous drumming. Despite having been out for less than a week, all of the band’s material off of their newest effort, Boronia, were met with seriously enthused dancing and jumping — a clear indication that the Australian surfers had found fame across the Pacific. With Fleming’s outrageous mop of bleach blonde hair invoking head-bang envy, and Stephenson’s guitar ripping from song to song, Hockey Dad breezed through what the latter dubbed “the best show of the tour so far.”