Saturday, April 23, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Gnaeus), And Our Review Of Thursday's Id Iota EP Release Concert!!

Today's post was originally going to solely be our review of Thursday night's Id Iota EP release show, but with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (and missed concert apology) relating to bands that played that night, let's kick things off there before we fall further behind!

Local post-punk/garage rock quartet Gnaeus will return to LopLops Lounge TONIGHT as openers for Toronto roots rock quartet Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs, as part of the festivities for the fifth annual Sault Ste. Marie Festival of Beer! In fact, this is the second of a two night local engagement for the headliners, who played at LopLops last night as well with local alternative/hard rock quartet Id Iota opening, which I profusely apologize for missing on here, but we only received public confirmation of their (or Gnaeus') involvement in this weekend's shows yesterday, and the bands haven't promoted them on their own Facebook pages. Hopefully last night's show was a blast if you were there, as a beer aficionado and/or music fan! For reference, Gnaeus played a solo show at last year's Festival of Beer, which also received a short notice public announcement. The Festival of Beer itself will take place once again at the Bushplane Museum today at 1:00 PM, with lots of craft beer available to sample, and admission will be $35. Click here for more details on the festival proper!

As for TONIGHT'S (and belatedly yesterday's) LopLops shows, Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs have a solid, down-to-earth rock sound that should fit in well, and while the local openers aren't visibly perfect fits, both Id Iota last night and Gnaeus TONIGHT should set the tone very well! Tickets for both nights are/were $10, admission was/is 19+, and 9:00 PM-ish start times are likely. I apologize once again for missing last night's show with Id Iota, and don't miss Gnaeus opening for Sam Cash TONIGHT! For a preview, let's dive into our review of Thursday night's LopLops concert, marking my first ever concert review at LopLops Lounge, believe it or not! Nice venue on the inside, longer than I expected, and if you stopped midway through, you'd assume it was just a restaurant. The "lounge" part of their name is very apparent in the concert stage area, and I like the art on the walls and the heavy presence of concert posters along the upper wall! It's inviting, busy, and vibrant all at once, and a fitting venue for the bands on tap!

After a late lineup shuffle, the aforementioned Gnaeus opened the proceedings in their first local concert of the year, as well as their first local appearance with new drummer Alex Proulx. Maybe it's the added crash course of playing in Southern Ontario before the Soo, but Alex fit right in with Gnaeus, and showed off his own clear drumming talents on existing originals like "Circles", "Lovers", and "The Sound", plus some newer material like "Hail Mary" and their requisite "Hang Me Out To Dry" cover. There seemed to be a timing hiccup on "The Edge", but Gnaeus were otherwise on point from when I last saw them, with Aaron Alessandri's vocals at their raspy-yet-melodic best, and Brad Irwin's synth work added that little something extra as usual! Aaron was admittedly a little muffled early, but it's great to have Gnaeus back, and don't miss them TONIGHT at LopLops either!

Advertised headliners The Pixo Control instead played the middle set with their alternative/grunge hybrid sound, and they got a great reaction from fans, even attracting a few devoted attendees to dance up front for the majority! This was the first time that I've seen The Pixo Control since Id Iota's Dustin Goodall replaced Steve Edwards on bass, and while arguably better known as a guitarist, he is a great addition to the Pixo lineup, and kept up musically and energetically with frontman Michael Mikus, who's ever-shorter hair didn't sap his stage presence at all! On songs like "Scratch", "Reasons", "Growing Pains", and a new song listed on their setlist as "Plastic Vegetables"(?), the guys delivered an explosive set, with Michael set off like a powder keg, and he showed his natural frontman chops more than once! A late reprise of "Scratch" saw instruments thrown and drum sets crashed into, forcing a delay of Id Iota's set, but it was a great capper to a great set!

Presumably as it was their local CD release, returning local alternative hard rock quartet Id Iota were promoted to the headlining slot on Thursday, marking their first local concert appearance since June, and the local debut of new bassist Dan Linklater. I wasn't at Id Iota's summer 2015 shows to know how that lineup sounded in person, but the current lineup delivered an entertaining set to close the night! Playing all four songs from their debut EP "Maudlin Fair" (more on that tomorrow) plus newer originals like "Happy Sailor", Id Iota are definitely more reminiscent of their predecessor band Habitat Shuffle than members' past work with Free Beer or The Vertically Impaired, harbouring a little bit of funk, hard rock, punk, and indie for good measure, with Christian Lemay providing solid vocals, plus some songs on guitar and yes, the melodica! Everyone performed well, with Dustin laying down some solid riffs, and the guys attracted an excellent crowd for their set-closing covers, including of Modest Mouse's "Float On" that had a few people literally jumping!

Id Iota are a fun band that closed the night on a high note, so stay tuned for more on their EP in our next post, and apologies again for missing their LopLops show yesterday! This was a great first foray into LopLops for our coverage, and hopefully it won't be the last time! You can check out our photos from the show at this link or at our Facebook page, and as for our videos, here's Gnaeus playing "Mountains", The Pixo Control playing "Alphabetical Order", and Id Iota playing "California Wasted"!

That's all for today, but don't miss Gnaeus TONIGHT at LopLops after the Festival of Beer wraps up, and stay tuned for a new news post tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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