Melodic Raw Pop
I arrive at the unexpectedly posh Hoxton Bar & Grill at 8:15, expecting to be late for Islands due to a bad case of Ye Old Street Tube station blues. I walk into the venue, and see three kids sitting on the stairs.
"Have Islands played yet? I ran all the way here."
"No, they don't play until ten."
"Do you know who's opening for them?"
"Yeah ... us."
"Cool! And who are you?"
"Umm, we're Damn Shames."
"Damn Shames? What kind of music do you make?"
"[laughter] Really bad music."
Later, I watch them play. They aren't so bad. The band consists of two guitarists and a bass player, while a drum machine fills in the percussive element. There is a slight feeling of Wolf Parade to it all (to keep with the Montreal theme of the evening) but they lack the melodic, poppy rawness necessary for a band with drum samples.
Their set is tight, but I find myself bored by them except when they scream. When they scream I am utterly charmed and find myself recalling the passion of Refused way back in the good old couple-of-days. The set ends and I applaud them, but hope that they quit singing and start screaming more. One of the guitarists held his head in his hands for a solid minute during a song in the middle of the show, and a feeling like that can only be expressed meaningfully if he's screaming.