WAKING EYES + Marble Index + Boy @ Main Hall

By Jordan-na - Canadian Invasion - 02/12/2005

Sometimes you just want to rock out. Fuck the deep meaning and weird synth sounds. Leave the violin and accordion at home. Lose a few band members and strip down the sound to the three basic elements of rock: guitar, bass and drum. Unfortunately, Montreal is hardly the place to find this type of bare bones rock, as we’re infatuated with our own trendy art rock music scene.

Saturday night delivered the cure to the art rock overload with The Video Sound Tour. There were groupies, there was beer chugging and there was dancing on the bar but most of all there was rock. The tour was to promote the debut album of Winnipeg’s The Waking Eyes who are headlining this cross-Canada tour with The Marble Index and Boy. The three up-and-coming bands rolled into The Main Hall and played a great show to a less than stellar showing. Perhaps they were competing with UK band Keane who were headlining a show at Metropolis that same night. Montrealers just weren’t interested and that was unfortunate, because despite the poor turnout, each band put on a solid performance.

Boy was first up, hailing from various Canadian provinces, resembling a cross between The Hives and The Strokes. They generated interest from the get go with an atmospheric, instrumental intro before delving into their two-album repertoire. The small crowd was up and dancing (albeit some shy swaying in the back) including two attention-starved groupies who would occasionally go into their faux lesbian act, sometimes on-stage. Boy delivered decent, danceable rock but really it was all about the image. This group of five precocious, underfed, stylishly shaggy haired boys were more about being in a rock band then actually playing in a rock band. Oddly enough, this worked to Boy’s advantage, which can only be explained by the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” Their rock star posing suggested that they could deliver the goods and the audience believed them. They are sonically satisfying, catchy, and easy to sing along to. They managed to warm the stage nicely for The Marble Index, awakening an appetite for more sweaty tunes.

Hamilton, Ontario’s The Marble Index picked it up were Boy left off and kicked it up a few notches. As a trio, they generate a thicker, richer sound than Boy could produce with two more members. Their fierce, pounding rock sometimes growled, and occasionally purred, giving the ear and body a nice palate of sounds to experience. Each member of The Marble Index knew his role and played it well. Lead singer Brad Germain has a great voice with a gravelly tone, perhaps the only advantage of too many cigarettes. It suited Adam Knickle’s pounding drum beats, and Ryan Tweedle’s fierce guitar riffs, the perfect, solid foundation to Germain’s wild man ways. Germain dropped into the audience and started a dance competition that spurred on the aforementioned bar dancing. The Marble Index drew you in and spat you out, and left you begging for more.

Although they played well, The Waking Eyes could not deliver that final, crowd-pleasing punch. Despite being the headlining band with their popular single “Watch Your Money,” they did not rock out hard enough to satisfy the audience, ready for more frantic dancing and hair shaking. This is not to take anything away from them: The Waking Eyes are a good live band but their brand of country-influenced rock wasn’t quite the right fit for the party time vibe of the two opening bands. It was a frenzied rock ‘n roll party and The Waking Eyes were a bit too clean cut and low key. They tried to liven things up with a beer chugging contest but it just wasn’t enough to bring the show to a spectacular close. The closing number was the highlight of their set: they brought their tour mates on stage for a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.”

And with that the Video Sound Tour packed away their guitars and drums, drank a few beers, and left Montreal to its accordions and art rock.

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