A few eardrums were blown when Doll, Machinegun Suzie, An Optional Circus and Lazerbear took to the stage at the mansion.
Lazerbear was the first band to take to the stage and seemingly the quietist band of the night also. After all the shows that they have played in Kingston so far, tonight was the first time that I have actually been able to make it out to their show. They had a new addition to their band as their previous drummer left the band and they welcomed the Patrick who is the lead guitarist and vocals for another local band Vorasek. After listening to their set their sound can be described as a 70’s Rock/Jam mixed with a grungier Indie Garage sound. They had most of their timing done really well even as the tempo progressed in a couple of their songs the timing was pretty good with each other. There were a few looks around to see what each other was going to do next but they hid it pretty well. During their second song tragedy struck a little bit as they blew a guitar string near the beginning of the song. The string was replaced rather quickly and caught back into the song when the guitar was ready. During their third song in the first verse the song had to be restarted and being the new guy Patrick got the blame for the mistake. During the song Chris’s lead guitar picking really stood out in the song. One song which I wasn’t really fond of was their own version of “Oh Sweet Nuthin‘” by The Velvet Underground, the vocals really took a dive compared to a couple of the other songs which they played and really slowed down the tempo of the night. Quickly “Lost Cause” began to play and picked up the tempo again. This song was their best vocally, as the vocals did mould together with the guitars and drums. This song is really when you notice the 70’s rock jam qualities of the band come to rise.
Up next was Machinegun Suzie took to the stage next. All I have to say about this four piece band is Hot and Kicks the Shit out of your Head. Their intro was a testament for the rest of their set as a loud and heavy bass Riff started it all off. The riff had a bit of a Marilyn Manson sound and vocals to match. After singing the first song with beer in hand Yvonne mixed things up by playing with a guitar for a couple of songs and switching back and forth between a guitar and just the mic. By the second song they drew a few people into the crowding the front of the stage, it didn’t take very long before they began to form a small mosh pit which quickly took out the microphone stand and sent it crashing onto the stage. After the song they said “we don’t give a fuck if the microphone hit the stage or not they will still play”. They asked the audience if they liked punk which got an alright response but when they started to play the song immediately the song took control of the room. The main riff in the song was awesome and loud, Even with earplugs in the guitars still ripped through them easily. The stage wasn’t able to contain them either as their guitarist left the stage and joined in the mosh at the front of the stage. I was surprised that she was still able to play even with all the guys who quickly surrounded her. “Bad Stripper” was my favourite of the night, The heavy riffs which was used sounded great, the quick pause between a few chords changes really stood out in the song. But it was Yvonne on vocals which really made the song work the most. She knew exactly how to work up the crowd. To finish off the night the guitar was placed in front of the amp for a long feedback sound which was also mixed with the dials being turned on the rack of guitar pedals.
This was my second attempt to watch An Optional Circus play. The first time I went to see them I was barraged by four of the worst sounding band which I ever saw before and I ended up leaving before AOC was to come on stage. Their set started of a little slow with the lead singer seemingly mumbling through the lyrics. They quickly picked up speed, with a mix of garage and grunge they seemed to quickly go through their thirty minute set. Unfortunately throughout most of their set I couldn’t really understand what the lead singer was singing, the vocals were really all over the place throughout their set which was a little unfortunate. Curt was playing his new guitar which he just got earlier in the week but still had his older guitar hidden in the background. The mix of Curt’s and Johny’s backing and lead guitars sounded pretty good together. The sounds of Beck could be heard during Curt’s intro into their second song. The sound of the song quickly changed into a more 90’s grunge distorted sound. Nearing the end of the song the keyboards which were added sounded as if they were forced onto the song which didn’t really add up to the rest of the song. I have watched Andrew play drums before but in AOC he was just tearing up the drum kit almost looked like Animal from the muppets by how fast and by the way he was playing. This was the first time that I didn’t see Johny sprawled out onstage either. The guitars were the real driving force behind the band they definitely have catchy riffs which can be real heavy and light during each song. I may forgot to add Loud, Curt warned me before that they were loud but I didn’t really believe him until I saw the amps start to appear on stage.
Doll was ready to finish off the night and the rest of peoples ear drums. Next time when I see them play I am hoping that they play a few more songs, This was probably the fifth time that I have watched them play live and every night they have a new set list. Which is great there is nothing worse than watching the same band play and play the same songs every time. I am really liking their version of “White Wedding”, this is a song that has to heard live to get the full effect of the song. The heavy guitars and bass really takes the song onto a new level and Christina’s higher grunge vocals are a definite plus to the song. They were played songs from their first album and their album which is still in the works. Véronique created a few of the heavier riffs by tearing into her Bass on a few occasions throughout the set, also adding in a few backing vocals. This was the first time which I have seen drumsticks shoved up someone’s nose and actually stay but Nick made it happen. Pretty much after every song you could see Nick saluting the audience from behind the drums with a beer in hand. Standing in the front row it was hard to tell who was actually louder the drums or the Pete and Christina on Guitars. During “Plastic Lies” Christina had the audience Fist pumping and yelling “Hey” throughout the first couple verses of the song. “Plastic Lies” is also a new song which is going to be on the new album as well, I can’t wait for this album be finished. Following the previous act Machinegun Suzie Christina didn’t hesitate from leaving the stage and playing out into the audience. Doll finished off the night with one of my favourite songs off their first album “Daddy’s Little Girl” at the ending of the song Christina ran her guitar up and down her microphone stand and used every dial on her pedals to finish off the song.
An Optional Circus