Before we promote the full details on the bands and schedule for next month's Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands, here's my review of last night's Soul Killing Female-headlined metal show at 180 Projects on Gore Street! As this was my first ever time at this building since it's rebirth as an arts/concert venue, let's start with some thoughts on the building itself, so here's what you need to know!
I don't remember 180 Projects' past as MJ's to compare it, but the concert venue space is at the 178 Gore entrance, and the second floor was (as best as I can tell) storage. There was an art exhibition of some kind to the left of the concert area, and though things were somewhat barren, there was some interesting art pieces on the walls, and an inviting loft atmosphere with some lounge chairs for patrons to use! I'd personally like to see them display some for-sale local art pieces during open periods (similarly to what Feedback did in late 2011), but I don't know how feasible that is. I also really enjoyed the projector that shown videos on the right wall in front of the stage, which the two metal bands used to quality effect, and I hope this is a regular feature for future concerts! Plus, the pre-show videos on Aboriginal culture and rights by B.C. filmmaker Chris Bose were interesting both culturally and visually, including some trippy and experimental visuals that really caught my attention, so I recommend checking them out at this link!
Now to the bands, and after a delay from the 7:00 PM start time, the first band was actually new local band AlgomA rather than Honest Job, who were bumped to last on the bill due to (I believe) a band member's job commitments. Now, AlgomA have kept their profile low-key until yesterday, so we didn't know much on them, so what can we say now? Their sound is definitely metal, but far removed from any other current local bands, as they play a very sludgy mix of doom metal and hardcore (picture Winkstinger + late era Woods of Ypres), along with some effective samples and some cool silent movie footage to go with their set! As you may remember, guitarist Boyd Rendell & bassist Kevin Campbell were previously in the local hardcore/punk band BeeFMouTH in the late 1990s, and while AlgomA's sound is similar (especially thanks to Boyd's high pitched yelling vocals), they're no where near as fast or punk influenced. Myself, I really liked their set, as it was heavy, locally original, and very aggressive, and if you'd have heard Kevin's voice after co-singing last night, you'd know they gave their all!
There are things to work on though with AlgomA though, like they could stand to be a bit more lively and inviting, especially with their lack of banter with the crowd, as it did give a somewhat cold & serious vibe. Also, Boyd often played with his back to the crowd when he wasn't singing, which makes me wonder if he was nervous to be back on stage? Overall though, this was a good first gig, and Jamie Vincent's drumming fit well also for their debut! If they can work out the kinks, they'll be a definite band to watch soon!
Next was the advertised headliners, Winnipeg cyber-sludge metal band Soul Killing Female in their second local concert appearance! I was out of town when they came to the Oddfellows Hall last year, but I must say, I should have been there to see them then, as they were quite impressive! Shorter than expected set aside, they tore through some very solid technical metal originals, all of which were nicely accompanied by their own projector video! Project mastermind Michael Lewis made use of his bass talents and vocal aggression well throughout, and he added some liveliness and activity to the floor as well! The band's other live members also fit in nicely throughout, with James Jansen's keyboard and sampling work standing out especially, which is more proof that in the right hands, computer effects have a place in metal! The big problem with Soul Killing Female's set was the audio quality, which seemed badly muffled, and by the end of their set, Michael's vocals were almost inaudible.
I don't know what happened, but I'd love to see them live with the audio kinks worked out, and hopefully they'll come back, as they're a very talented and original band, and they have a unique sound and setup that would be welcomed here a third time!
Lastly last night was newer local garage/folk rock quartet Honest Job, who I've never seen live before, so what can I say about them? Their sound is diverse, ranging from ethnic-leaning folk songs (complete with accordion) to folk-inspired rock songs that, though not heavy, demonstrated clear talent! Aside from a Pixies cover, their songs were all original, including some songs in an ongoing concept series on Tarot cards by frontman John Hobbes, to a song dedicated to former local band/YMCA Battle competitors Waterslide (I wonder if any Honest Job members were in that band?) I liked their collective talents (even if I'm not entirely sure of their complete identities), and they shown good guitar and drum talents, but this show did seem like an ill fit for their genre. Diversity never hurts though, and Honest Job put in an honest set last night that was very good for their style, and they definitely have a good future locally!
Overall, this was an entertaining first concert at 180 Projects, and it's great to see live metal music back on Gore Street after a 2½ year hiatus! If more concerts get booked there, this could very well be a big new venue, so support it and here's hoping we get some new metal concerts there soon! Also, kudos to AlgomA drummer Jamie Vincent for his first promoted local concert since beginning his new all ages promotion agency, and while this was somewhat of a soft launch (minimal promotion, no visible underage attendees), I see a lot of promise! I got a bunch of photos last night, so click here to check them out or visit our Facebook page, and for videos, here's AlgomA playing their song "Tertiary Syphillis" and Soul Killing Female playing their CD title track "Of Human Bondage"!
That's all for today, but stay tuned for all of the details on the schedule and bands (possibly minus one mystery act) at next month's Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands! Thanks everyone!