L-R: Blood Monkeys, Property, Luna Li, Kitzl
NOTE: This concert review is part of a special review series that is spread across various online Canadian music blogs: Ride The Tempo, Irregular Dreams and Splendid Industries.
Greetings music lovers! Welcome to my special Kazoo! Fest 2019 concert review series. Kazoo! Fest is a delightful positive accessible music and arts festival that takes place in Guelph, Ontario, in early spring, dedicated to highlighting the best and up-and-coming independent adventuring of artists from Guelph, across Canada and beyond. Kazoo! Fest 2019 took place from April 10th to April 14th, in which I was able to attend and volunteer at. I attended at least one of many musical extravaganzas each day, taking sweet shots under my photography alias, Scope Overseer Photogenics. My concert reviews are posted according to day and across various online music blogs that I write for. Links to each day can be found at the bottom of the page. Thank you for following along this journey with me!
Day 3 – Friday April 12th: Kitzl – Property – Luna Li – Blood Monkeys @ eBar
Distance and time were on my side for attending this night’s Kazoo! Fest concert, having concluded my volunteer shift early with an easy 5-minute walk across downtown Guelph, from Kazoo! HQ to the eBar. I would have made it to see good human_friend Kitzl of the Splendid Industries family, but I am glad to be able to report on all the acts that gave their musical best right from the start! With out-of-this-world live visuals created by video artists Fezz Stenton (allowing the stage and in turn my photographs much more radiant appealing, thank you!), the lineup for this concert focused on distinguished feminine-helmed expression across the performance spectrum, from grace to strength and intimate to heavy. All the artists portrayed their individual sonic characteristics, but I would say a link between them, aesthetically speaking, was a genuine sense of supportive good-natured fun and quirkiness. And they all blasted our minds doing so!
Excellent case to this point was the opening act: Blood Monkeys, a young Guelph 4-piece rock band formed as part of Girls Rock Camp Guelph. This organization offers local female, trans and gender nonconforming youth the chance to learn and play in a band for the first time. I believe I recall that this was Blood Monkeys’ first performance in front of a venue audience! I have to say, they rocked us well with their impressive miniature set of songs about all monkey-business. Simplistic tunes yet effective coordination and arrangements. Amazing start for these growing musicians!
We now have the memorable serene glimmering raw rock stylings of Luna Li from Toronto! I got to watch her perform for the first time at the Garrison in Toronto while volunteering at Wavelength Winter Fest in February, so I knew it was going to be another magical display of sweet polished garage rock allsorts. I adore Luna’s confident stage presence, moving elegantly in her sparkling suit, singing with radiant warmth. Her stellar bravura is something else to talk about: energized and prevailing, Luna’s guitar playing is awe-inspiring, and certainly a modern-day rock n’ roll guitar master, as she tiptoes during her radical riffs and solos. The performance was the stuff of ethereal rock dreams, especially with great support from Luna Li’s backing band, with the agile intricate performance of “Silver into Rain” and ending in full blast on the driving “Need a Lil Love”. The revitalizing impressive unique song Luna performed was “Opal Angel”, a favourite of mine, played mainly solo save for late-entering drums, as it features her playing violin, looping it along with her guitar into a stunning textural contrast to the rest of her set. A musical royal divination if I ever saw one.
From here, the overall tone of the show starts to shift into the electronic domain but retaining a rock essence with Property, who came to Kazoo! all the way from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador! Sarah Harris sang eloquently with guitar in hand. Her vocals were brimful and clean with a gravitas heartfelt quality, especially with Property’s socially conscious lyrics. Liam Wight held the bass region firm, while guitarist and backing vocalist Jack Etchegary controlled the band’s signature inanimate “fourth” member: a drum machine. This gave Property that 80’s new wave angular textural flavour and indie sprite. What could be seen as being subjugated to the set rhythmical parameters of a machine was certainly not heard by the audience. The drum machine was important to the songs, but minimal in complexity. That allowed for the human elements could shine with tapestries of bright electric string workings and righteous vocal sonority, certainly most prominent in their song “Anarchy Baby”.
Kitzl plays a marvellous constellatory collection of electronic spells that concludes this evening’s musical festivities with surreal fireworks, emotion-pulverizing sparklers and depth-defying hymns. With an extravagant equipment set-up recreating her lovely musical creatures, it was understandable that a sound problem could occur… which it did early in Kitzl’s set. The audience respectively waited and cheered when the connection was fixed.
Each song Kitzl performed, all off her newly released debut album 40 Moons that We Know Of, was idiosyncratic in sophisticated textural atmosphere and thriving on their own extra-terrestrial sonic environment… each its own moon. These include the new age/shoegaze “Feather”, the celestial spatial minimalist “Waterfall”, the vocoder-keyboard ballad “Lumberwater”, the existential-love cinematic electronica cover of Phosphorescent's “Song for Zula”, and the singer-songwriter guitar arrangement of electropop “Armadilla”. Yet they interconnected through the gravitational operational orbit of Kitzl, sweeping across her keyboard and guitar, pounding and adjusting her drum/sampling/vocoder apparatuses, and singing with ear-tantalizing richness, versatility and whimsical wonder. “Wizard Girls”, a song which I had not previously heard until that night, pushed me onto the edge of tears, especially with such impactful lines like “And your voice is coming back to life, back to life” and "You feel a storm that's coming | Don't let it take us slow".
Kitzl is a talented wizard girl who will no doubt astonish all the human_people who bare witness to her magical abilities on the musical stage.
Photos by Nicholas Cooper | Scope Overseer Photogenics
Kazoo! Fest 2019 Concert Reviews:
Day 3 – Friday April 12th: Kitzl – Property – Luna Li – Blood Monkeys @ eBar (on Splendid Industries)
Day 4 – Saturday April 13th: Bonnie Doon – Lo Siento – Bleu Nuit – Drunk at the Library @ ANAF (on TBD) = To Be Posted