Last night I headed out to the Toronto launch of the 2003 Varia compilation CD at Kathedral. My number one reason for going was to see acidasia perform in The Scroll and Ã–genix. This was something I had been wishing to witness since I first heard of acidasia’s band membership.
The Scroll opened up and started off with numerous sound problems due to the inept and inattentive sound technician with which the event was cursed. Despite this, the band held their own and recovered excellently, successfully remaining in character throughout the set. The Scroll had an excellent stage presence, with the two lead vocalists acting off one another, giving a somewhat tongue-in-cheek performance with a subtle sense of humour. Each was dressed for their roles: Deeh, the male lead, in stilettos, fishnets and a scandalously short miniskirt, and acidasia sporting long black hair in thick curls, a black patent leather skirt slit on either side and thick-soled black boots. On a couple of tunes the duo sang to each other, giving the impression of a storyline. In retrospect, it would have been interesting to see this aspect of the set emphasised into an operetta of sorts. If done properly, this format could escape pretentiousness and enhance the atmosphere of the performance. Then again, perhaps The Scroll were already doing this and I’m just a little slow to figure it out.
Next up was Ã–genix, the other band with which acidasia is involved. What a tight outfit this was. The instrumentals were note-for-note dead-on, which was astounding given the speed at which the two guitarists, Deeh and SET, were going. This, combined with Gabriel’s aggressive use of the synth and vocals, made for an energetic performance of well-organised chaos. If that wasn’t enough, Ã–genix replayed a track at double-speed to close the set. Acidasia tells me that the band has been together and rehearsing for quite a while, and it truly shows. From what I saw Sunday evening, Ã–genix is the one to watch out of MontrÃ©al, and they were performing under far from ideal conditions. I could write more, but you really need to see these guys.
Scrape followed in the next act with some dark beat poetry from the Underworld. The band consisted of one member on synths and a second front-and-centre on ghoulishly-vocoded vocals, miraculously filling the stage with his gesturing presence. The vocalist was not that large and yet somehow his arms seemed to encompass the entire stage.
Pulse Plant closed off the Varia portion of the show with a live techno set. I wasn’t paying that much attention and there’s not that much one can say about a lone man tweaking knobs onstage.
After the show some of us, including the members of The Scroll and Ã–genix, headed out to a suite at the Marriott for the after-party. Apart from a loud and bawdy but relatively tame version of “truth or dare”, everyone was fairly well-behaved, depending on what your expectations were. Sure, there was the woman clad in latex fetish gear fellating a mid-size brass onyx statue, and an ice bucket emptied on an innocent and unsuspecting friend of mine, but that’s to be expected where there’s absinthe involved.
Ah yes, the absinthe. SET graciously shared his bottle of the stuff (apparently as real as it gets these days, labelled as such on the bottle) with everyone who asked, myself included. To serve, SET poured most of one shot in a glass, and placed a sugar cube dipped in the remainder on top of what I can only describe as a small metal plate punched with a few holes. This plate was then placed over the glass while SET poured a shot of Figi water. The sugar cube was then lit and allowed to burn for a few seconds, causing it to melt, before it was transferred to the glass. The resulting blue flames were put out with the shot of water. I can’t really describe the flavour, which was somewhat sweet from the sugar and cool, not warming like scotch, and with barely an aftertaste. The buzz was clean and smooth, almost imperceptible with more of a mental drunkenness than a physical one. Absinthe is definitely something I would like to try again, although it is quite expensive. Thanks again to SET for sharing.
I finally headed home at around 6am, giving me just enough time to put in a few hours of sleep before heading into work. Remarkably, I felt rested and even now don’t feel incredibly tired. I haven’t been able to stay up that late and with so few ill effects since my university days. I’ll probably pay for it yet, however.