Iceage, Pelada and Crack Cloud at the Astoria

Iceage (unknown photographer)

Iceage (unknown photographer)

Crack Cloud

Crack Cloud

Iceage

Iceage

Iceage came back to Vancouver shortly after their last tour with Black Lips and brought bringing along Montreal’s Pelada. Opening the night was Deranged Records artists, Crack Cloud. Sound issues were apparent from the start and it took four or five songs for them to get their stride and even then, with seven members present on the stage, switching instruments, tuning and a lack of crowd engagement from any of them left things a bit more awkward than necessary. On their EP’s, Crack Cloud maintains a fluid succession from one song to the next in a considered and frustrated no wave exercise. Jarring guitars play harmonic tones as much as notes while Colin Newman-inspired bursts of puzzled lyrics are spat by nearly all members in trade. It makes their recordings worthy of repeated listens and I was expecting a more realized live set. They were far more comfortable playing their earlier songs than newer material and though the quality is up to standard, the execution fell short. That’s not to say it was poor. You’d be foolish to write this band off for sounding like they’re in their jam-space instead of on stage as the quality is unarguably present. When the live component to Crack Cloud is confirmed, they will be impossible to ignore.
Pelada stormed the stage and delivered my most anticipated set of the night, dropping acid-drenched, punk techno with no shortage of middle fingers at the audience while forcing them to dance. They were confrontational, pissed and arrogant. All attention was on Chris Vargas as they commanded the room with sharp dancing and shouted, Spanish language proclamations. The demands were not necessary as everyone I could see from my vantage point was thoroughly enthralled. After 30 minutes of high energy bliss, Pelada insulted the promoter for spelling their name wrong and not getting them alcohol before playing the final song of their set and leaving the stage. I entered a fan and left a very large fan. The best part of the night had come to an end.
I’ve seen Iceage three times now, the first being a blistering punk set. The second, a fucking weird Nick Cave tribute-esq set that was borderline embarrassing. And this night, their third, was the best live outing yet. The ease with which they came on scene as the ‘White Rune’ identifying teenagers had given way to Americana music dragged through Birthday Party melodrama and violence albeit a bit too biting in my opinion. What was on stage this night was a group fine-tuning their influences without taking on the idolatry trap so easily stepped into. Iceage soak their influences, distill them and present them to their audience in a whirlwind of emotion. The new record is in effect, an amalgamation of what they’ve done before yet fine tuned into something fresh. The ability for them to continually experiment while playing with alternating styles works well and I’m looking forward next time they come through.

Iceage continues their North American Tour and is on fire. With thanks to Modified Ghost.
Terrible pictures taken by Josh on an out of date, fucked up phone. Take pictures for Neon Waste. This shit is hella embarrassing.