Review: Ocean Charter of Values/Union Suit (Flourish Festival)

Category: music 225

Two genre defying acts highlight festival’s Saturday afternoon programming.

Matt Carter | @M_J_C73
_MG_0489
Union Suit at Shiftwork w/ backdrop by sophia bartholomew. Photo: Matt Carter

384 Queen Street in downtown Fredericton was full of life last Saturday afternoon as Flourish Festival 2016 animated nearly every square inch of the storied property with art installations, a zine fair, and several live music performances. Heck, there was even an espresso/smoothie bar set up at the top of the stairs, with profits going to support musicians preparing to head out on tour.

The afternoon was highlighted by a combined performance featuring Halifax’s Ocean Charter of Values and Fredericton’s Union Suit.

After working out a few technical glitches, Ocean Charter of Values, a creative sound project by Nova Scotia musician Nick Laugher, took the Shiftwork stage delivering a set of mixed material stretching from the safe and familiar to the chaotic and what laugher described simply as “evil”.

Joined by Molly Elliott on vocals and Evan Matthews on synths and percussion, Ocean Charter of Values’ set was highlighted by a tear filled rendition of In Awe, Burn, the b-side of last week’s release, Vacant Sea and the overall enjoyable unexpected nature of Laugher’s compositions.

_MG_0487
Laugher, Lejeune and Matthews at Shiftwork. Photo: Matt Carter

As Laugher’s set drew to a close, he was joined by Tate Lejeune who contributed to a wall of feedback and chaotic noise that bridged the two performances.

Lejeune has been performing as Union Suit for the past couple of years now. In that time, he has grown to be one of the province’s most captivating performers, awkwardly charismatic and sonically demanding. From the moment he amps up his left-handed guitar and begins working sonics, Lejeune’s actions are completely captivating and poetic to a fault. Through an array of effects pedals and looped phrases, he creates layers of symphonic sound that blend unfocused harmonics with all the emotive passion and integrity of a heated argument.

Throughout the 30 minute set, Union Suit took the opportunity to deliver intense interpretations of older material found on his 2014 release Held Onto, including realization and his signature climactic theme dilirious vista that left both he and the modest afternoon audience exhausted and slightly disoriented.

As the last chords echoed into silence, Lejeune indicated that perhaps this was the last time we would hear any of these now-familiar compositions. Pointing to his available merch – the few remaining copies of Held Onto and a broken mirror, he said, “I wanted to make a set of my old music, which I really hate now. I have a few cassettes left and whoever wants one can have one. Also, there’s a broken mirror. It’s a puzzle.”

While it remains to be seen in which direction his new compositions will follow, there is little doubt that whatever he creates will continue to be raw and moving, with all the honesty of a secret shared between best friends.

Big thanks to Laugher, Lejeune and all at Flourish for a perfect afternoon.

Listen to Union Suit perform realization at Flourish 2016.

alt text

Related Articles