While our experience Over The Top experience from Thursday was full of guitar driven pop-rock, Friday night was all about pianos, keyboards and synthesizers. We’re still all smiles from it, it was that freakin’ good. Here’s why.
It’s hard to find a more energetic, loveable duo than Matt & Kim, who started the night at the Mod Club. With Matt on keys/synth and Kim on drums, the Brooklyn pair smiled and headbanged their way through a raucous half-hour, much to the delight of the squealing kids who packed the front of the stage. As if their loud, fast and infectious brand of new wave synth-pop wasn’t enough to warm hearts, the stage banter between the two showed that their constant giddiness was no act. Brandishing a wide smile, Matt proudly said, “I just went to Tim Horton’s for the first time today. Oh snap! That muffin, I gotta say, was pretty freakin’ good!” When Matt wasn’t proclaiming his love for Kim’s small boobies, she embarrassing him by point out the number of girls swooning at his every move. Their set was, sadly, extremely short, but won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Directly after that, Will Currie and the Country French played their brand of jangly piano-pop at the Whippersnapper Gallery. While all six-members of the band are obviously musically talented, this worked to their disadvantage as the piano, guitar and bass usually drowned out most of the vocals, leaving them sounding, at best, like a good bar band. The chord changes and bass runs became a little too familiar throughout the set, lacking enough deviation to keep things interesting. Hopefully the band will learn to turn their volume down so the nuances of the songs can be better heard.
Rich Aucoin was next up, a Haligonian whose Personal Publication EP was recorded so that it synched up with Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (which you can watch, in full, above). A projector was rigged up for Aucoin to provide a half-live showing of the mash-up (most of the music was pre-recorded, with Aucoin adding vocals, piano and vibraphone, among other instruments). If that wasn’t enough, he was also dressed up as the Grinch. It was a bit gimmicky, but we went worth with an open mind and were well rewarded.
Aucoin’s songs are hard to pin down to a specific style, as they can switch from lush piano indie-pop to electronic synth pieces with lots of voice modulation that sound heavily influenced by Prince. “At War With The Cynics (An Opening)” is a good example of how Aucoin manages to mix everything together and, miraculously, makes it all work. The drum machine made the sound a little too metallic at points, but the overall experience was a lot of fun. The closer of his set, a slow-burner that built up to a singalong, was backed by Will Curry and the Country French plus a couple of friends, giving hope that Aucoin will soon be travelling with a full band to perform his songs with the need of pre-recorded parts.