February 10th, 2018
By Gregory Balanko-Dickson
Chained by Mind
CALGARY – That were quite a few hard-hitting artists at the McHugh House on February 10th for an all-ages party put on by Major Minor Music Project and our very own BeatRoute AB shouldn’t be particularly surprising. However, what is surprising is just how many young, hungry, and talented artists that can be packed into one tiny house on 17th avenue.
Chained by Mind was the first of those bands to really command some attention. The trio’s thick and heavy sound layered with their infuriated vocals could only be described as murderous teen angst. Their vocals are fueled by an inextinguishable flame of will and desire, the kind that sometimes fades with age. Take the vocals of Jorge Herrera from The Casualties and smashing them together with Morbid Angels-inspired instrumentals, and what you’re left with is something close to Chained by Mind, just add grindcore, and a lot of it.
Flashback was next in line among the artists that rocked the McHugh House on the 10th. Flashback has a very classic rock attitude and aesthetic, but they make it their own by adding some weighty distortion. When it comes to their musical style, they’re sitting somewhere between AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, and Airbourne. Flashback’s vocals resemble that of an early Dave Mustaine calling out James Hetfield in a backyard wrestling match, and their music is filled to the brim with re-imagined riffs of yesteryear. But, there’s also an abundance of anthems and melodies. Flashback’s stage presence is calm and collected, with interludes of bliss and adventure. They gave off an aura of ‘been there, done that,’ in the best way possible.
Hailing from Siksika, Chief and Council are true to their cultural and musical roots. There is a grungy, melodic, alt-rock vibe that is truly captivating. Chief and Council’s song “More Romance” reminded us of Kurt Cobain’s ghost fawning after Courtney love from beyond the grave. Their Song “Holy Ghost” was especially resonant. Before performing this song, Chief and Council dedicated the performance to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada.
Sawlung, is heavy, heavy, grinding, screeching, dense, dynamic and powerful sludge. Their performance ranged from head exploding distortion and feedback, to ominous and intimidating strings and percussion. Their throaty vocals and pounding instrumentals blend all things heavy. Wear earplugs. Of course, this is really fitting when you consider their band name. Sawlung is an Old English word which means ‘to die.’The trio put together a hell of a show, leaving many people in the McHugh house in awe, or possibly a skull shattering coma.
If I Look Strong You Look Strong
The final act of the night was If I Look Strong; You Look Strong, fronted by Noah Michael, armed with a drum kit and his background tracks. The music is intensely mathematic, eccentric, and often just plain weird. His performance was animated, and almost sarcastic, but in an endearing way. He played his set half-naked, (which we have gathered is common at an IILS;YLS show) and despite bearing it all, Michael was pretty comfortable in front of a crowd.