DREDG + Pacer + Sign Of One @ Cabaret La Tulipe

By Mikey B - The Lonesome Strangers - 08/22/2005

Most people working for an underground radio station would jump at the opportunity to see a free show, any free show. Even if the show in question takes place in a few hours, it’s still a free show. Just hearing the word “guestlist” in a sentence will make you jump like a trout into the rock 'n roll boat. Luckily for me, the band I’d be seeing was California’s Dredg, who were making their first ever stop in Montreal.

Opening for Dredg was Sign Of One. I felt privileged to have only caught three minutes of their short performance; I can’t (or don't have to) give an opinion on a band after hearing only one song. Having heard that song, I turned to my friend, and in a Homer Simpson-style of muttering said, “heyyy, those guys reeeeeaaaalllly sucked”. Of course my friend said she liked them and had met the bassist. Backtracking as I usually do, I of course stated, "well, I’m sure they’re nice guys".

Next up on the bill was Montreal’s Pacer. I had heard of them before, but never fully listened to them. They didn’t disappoint. Often sounding like Tool with whinier and more cohesive vocals, Pacer’s set was relatively strong. I wouldn’t count myself as a big fan of prog-rock, or bands that are influenced by a lot of prog rock (Mars Volta, Coheed & Cambria); still, Pacer was able to hold my attention for the duration of their set.

On to Dredg, a band that has been recommended to me for the last few months by co-workers and indie music gods alike. What a name...DREDG… sounded dirty, sounded crappy, sounded like a awful Sylvester Stallone movie from the 90’s. The lousy name aside, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the near 90-minute performance. Having been around since 1996, their third studio album Catch Without Arms came out in June, and is probably the only Dredg album you’ll find at your local record distributor. Did I mention it was produced by Terry Date (Deftones, Pantera, White Zombie)?.

Upon first arrival to the show, I really had no idea what I was in for. Looking around I saw a lot of people decked out in classic rock T-shirts. I began to worry when the total amount of Rush T-shirts spotted exceeded five. Those worries were put aside once the rocking commenced, as the band began playing an ultra-tight set of songs touching upon an assortment of musical styles and influences. Calling Dredg an alt-rock-prog band seems like somewhat of a narrow description having seen them play live. Lead man Gavin Hayes’ vocals aim to soothe, as they seem to stay constant throughout Dredg’s songs and mesh well with the band’s overall dynamics, which go from loud to soft, and fast to slow in a heartbeat. There’s a whole slew of influences stemming from 80’s pop (U2 and the Police), 90’s loud rock (Deftones, Tool, early Incubus) to 70’s prog rock & funk. Really, there is a virtual cornucopia of genres here. Let’s just say that these guys are a bunch of hippies that really appreciate music in its entirety.

The crowd seemed quite impressed with the performance, as was I. There was not much crowd interaction during the set, which didn’t seem to bother me much since it was never really needed. Most of the time, Hayes would finish a song and say: “thank you for listening”. He said it at least six times throughout, and somehow made it sound genuine each time. That’s what I liked about these guys: genuine, hard-working musicians that didn’t act like rock stars, even when they’re up on stage.

For 9.99$ a pop at HMV, they’re worth a listen.

[Tune in to The Lonesome Strangers every Tuesday from noon to 2pm]