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Pop Montreal 2006

I Gotta Have more Melodica - O Patro Vys Friday @ Pop

Posted by Jer / October 7, 2006

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Pop Montreal must be a sound technician's worst nightmare. Shows usually feature 4 or 5 bands who rarely share equipment. Setting up mics, amps and mixing all the bands seems like a monumental task, especially on such a tight schedule.

Last night's show at O Patro Vys must have been pure hell then. There were violins, xylophones, vibraphones, melodicas (those awesome little keyboards that you blow into through a tube), Hammond organs and, my favourite, a french horn. All crammed onto a tiny stage.

I had come to review the The Hylozoists and Cuff the Duke, but was surprisingly delighted with Torngat, a local trio featuring drums, keyboards and a french horn fed into a delay pedal and other fx processors. Relatively atmospheric, their instrumental songs are moody ditties that waver between building climaxes and abstract fits of drums and horns. Apparently, if you play as creatively as frontperson Pietro Amato, you can make a french horn sound like R2D2.

Torngat was a suitable segue to The Hylozoists. Also an instrumental outfit, the Hylos bring a more uptempo sensibility to their songs, capitalizing on the playful back and forth between xylophone, violin and pedal steel guitar. The band draws members from several other Canadian bands, and last night, seven musicians stuffed the stage. The multi-instrumentalist members trade off lead melody duties, but by far the most impressive is founder Paul Aucoin's insane xylophone skills. If there was an equivalent of turning the amp to 11 on xylophone, Aucoin did it in the second last song of their set.

5 of the 7 members of the Hylozoists also make up Cuff the Duke's stage show. After a small shift of stage position, the Hylozoists-come-Cuff-the-Duke did a sharp U turn into country rock. Wayne Petti weaved tales of country woe with drawling vocals and twangy guitar. Despite tracks with titles like "Ballad of a Lonely Construction Worker", the dip into the genre seems more authentic than ironic. Even though Aucoin sweated it out xylophone for the set, there are few traces of Hylo in Cuff, peaking out only in a few extended instrumental breakdowns.

Despite the logistical headaches for sound techs, all these instruments and sound ideas are nothing but good news for us. discoball.jpg cuffopatro.jpg

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