OHGR with Left Spine Down and Violet Tremors
Waiting in line out front of The Rickshaw Theatre these days, one can’t help but be impressed with how the old place has been restored, remodeled and set up as great venue for live entertainment. Just surviving on the Downtown Eastside certainly takes effort, and bringing in acts with an avant-garde approach is certainly one way to break down certain barriers.
It was interesting to see however that the first true act of the evening wasn’t even local. A female duo from LA (Ogre’s adopted town) known as Violet Tremors that was all about synthesizers, lights, stockings, and quirky onstage movements; I couldn’t help but reminisce about X-Ray Spex. Many of the tunes were simple but rich, somehow a paradox of melancholy and enlightened, plus it was kind of cool to see Ogre crouching near a bass cabinet, watching them perform. A two tiered synthesizer stand with two keyboards and some mixed sounds and effects emanating from a suitcase which seemed to be something circa 1966 or something right out of the old television show The Avengers.
Left Spine Down took the stage later in support of their new disc Caution. The band seems to have improved its stage show by leaps and bounds, literally. They’ve always given that sense of being bigger than what they are and I suppose the fact that they seem to lust for recognition is not lost on a crowd of contemporaries. Singer Kaine Delay seems to have that energy and reckless abandon, which is still intact as he bounds about the room encouraging the crowd to get into songs from the new album. A new drummer seems to hit all the right marks as they seem to have moved into a realm occupied by AFI and the like. Not even Delay’s movements, or the constant coaxing of the crowd or a cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control” complete with epileptic mimicking by Delay could inspire onlookers to get into a full on mosh, though I did see a handful dancing at the centre stage front.
When OhGr took the stage, the presentation was almost post-apocalyptic with radio calls in the background and all members (Ogre, Justin Bennett (drums), William Morrison (guitar/bass) and Jeff Smith (keyboards)) wore straitlaced grey business suits right off Wall St. racks. The fact that they were charred on the reverse and complete with combat boots or Doc Martens was not lost on those more observant. Ogre seemed complete with voice modifier, bullhorn, and riot gear in the shape of a blast helmet & face shield. Notably the OhGr emblem was emblazoned along the side in addition to one on the bass drum. With the man of the hour in skeletal face paint and black leather fingerless gloves, ohGr blasted fans with an interblended mix of cuts from all 4 full length records: Welt, SunnyPsyop, Devils in My Details and the most recent unDeveloped. “Shhh” and “Water” started and completed a 3 song encore respectively.