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Bend Sinister and Pride Tiger

09-Jun-2006 03:32 pm Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Bend Sinister and Pride Tiger DGD_2006_C1013.jpg
June 6 , 2006
Toronto, Ontario
The Horseshoe Tavern
Review and Photos by: Pete Nema
Enema Rating: (6/10)

Every Tuesday at The Horseshoe is Nu Music Night and when I noticed Bend Sinister (Pete's Pick on May 20th), a band based out of Vancouver, were playing there this Tuesday it seemed like a good opportunity to see them live. Pride Tiger was scheduled to come on before Bend Sinister, a band I'd never heard of before. I didn't plan it, but I ended up getting there early enough to catch Pride Tiger's entire set which was a bit of a shock, in a good way.

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The setup for Pride Tiger had the drum kit placed front and centre, which could mean only one thing: they're one of those rare bands where the drummer is also the lead singer. Visually, it makes for a unique show. They performed a powerful set with songs that favoured changes over repetition, skilled drumming and guitar, and clear vocals. I'd never heard their music before, but found myself really getting into it. Their sound is like early Aerosmith mixed with some of the best attributes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and topped off with the skill and cooperation of jam bands like Widespread Panic or God Street Wine. The highlight of the set was a song called This Old Louse which was packed with great drum fills and searing guitar. The recordings on their MySpace page just don't do their live show justice, but give Sweet Dreams a listen for an idea of what I'm talking about.

After a fairly quick stage change, Bend Sinister came out - the band members looking all clean and dry, which is something that was about to change over their 45 minute set. If you haven't heard Bend Sinister, their recorded material is very much progressive rock, borrowing from such legendary bands as early Genesis and Yes and then mixing it with a more current sound like The Mars Volta. The new music in the set they played at The Horseshoe was definitely a step toward more current and harsher music.

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Maybe it's the way they move and dress, but Bend Sinister comes across as a very young band. Or maybe it's just that they are actually young, which I guess would explain it. But I don't mean just young in age, I also mean young in terms of identity. There were many points during the set where they came across like a stage packed full of air-guitar heroes. The big difference is that they're not playing air, they are skilled musicians weaving together somewhat complex material. Dan Moxon (lead vocals) started out on the keyboard, but later in the set he and John Bunyan switched places putting Moxon on center stage to pick up a guitar and seriously rock out. The kind of rocking out that makes a man sweat, and sweat he did. It was both really cool and somewhat amusing to see them build to a musical cescendo together.

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Altogether, Bend Sinister has a heap of talent and a few brilliant songs and they are definitely a band to watch. By getting out and touring, the hard work involved will likely force them to find a more distinctive stage presence. They have a few challenges, as do all young bands, but they've got the skill and appear have the drive. Watch out.


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