Day four of Pre-POP 2017 was a celebration of progressive uncategorization.
The Capital Complex have been hosting Pre-POP performances each fall for the past several years, catching acts as they pass through the province on their way to play the Halifax POP Explosion. Affectionately referred to as Pre-POP Week, the event sees the venue play host to an assortment of both emerging and well established bands from across the country for a full week of programming, drawing dedicated music lovers out for an unusually high volume of top-notch, mid-week performances.
Motherhood kicked off the venue’s third Pre-POP showcase with a commanding presence. With a new album in the can and no release date yet announced, the band played through a mix of old and new songs, debuting some of their latest material before a hometown crowd for the very first time. Powered by guitarist/vocalist Brydon Crain’s manic voice, the group’s frenzied, shape-shifting, prog-driven delivery appears to have placed the band on the brink of something big.
Challenged by the uncatagorizable genre of music they so confidently create (I heard someone affectionately refer to it as demented circus music) I can’t help but feel that if Motherhood were a folk or blues act, Fredericton would have already propped them up as the next big thing with sold-out shows in our largest concert halls. Despite the challenge, and after a summer of heavy touring that included some great festival appearances, the band continue to cultivate a much-deserved audience outside of their local friends and family. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Motherhood. Seeing them perform on a local stage as often as we do is truly a privilege and one not lost on those in attendance for this show.
Ontario’s Whoop-Szo were up next. Playing their first Fredericton show as a four piece while multi-instrumentalist Kirsten Kurvink Palm takes time off to explore the joys of motherhood, the band delivered an expectedly strong performance. Illuminated by the soft glow of a projected film collage, Whoop-Szo shifted through an intense set full of heavy rhythms and complex tempos lead by Adam Sturgeon’s effects-laden vocals. Much like Motherhood’s preceding performance, Whoop-Szo left the room in awe.
Rounding off the evening, Yamantaka Sonic Titan took the stage around 11 p.m. making their Fredericton debut, blasting through an intense set teeming with progressive metal leads, haunting chants and fervent rhythmic interludes.
Due to the venue’s small stage, space was tight for the six-piece, Polaris Prize nominated ensemble known for their onstage performance art theatrics and self-styled noh-wave, genre-melding sound. As the band worked through an hour-long set, they held complete control of the room effortlessly captivating the small but attentive audience.
If last night’s show was held on a familiar Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening time slot, this performance would have most likely sold out. That said, those lucky enough to be in attendance will most likely remember “that time Motherhood, Whoop-Szo and Yamantaka Sonic Titan played The Capital” for a long time to come. What a show!
Pre-POP continues this week with: