All in their very early 20s, Toronto’s BADBADNOTGOOD show musicianship far beyond their years. In a performance that was as exhausting as it was exhilarating, it seems things can only get better from here for the young trio. With the release of their third LP Ill just a few months ago, the band has proved that their first compilation of original material is rousing, technical and jam-packed with contextual nuances.
Melbourne born and bred, Otious kicked in to a packed out room. The duo vocals of Alan Jin and Jordan Walker worked seamlessly in conjunction with an intricate overlay of sounds. In what is quite clearly a meeting of entirely different influences, Otious melds rap, soul, rock and electro beats with a satisfying ease. Opening with ‘Still’, the track oozes a succession of rhythmic beats and infectious melodies. Covering Chet Faker’s ‘Talk Is Cheap’ was an ideal fit, with Walker’s swoon-worthy croon proving to be a truly captivating asset. Closing with their latest single ‘Night Terrors’, the crowd was well and truly into the groove and primed for the evening’s followings.
To add to the heat, Kirkis took to the stage in what is always a hella catchy performance. The Melbourne six-piece led by Matthew Kirkis sure know how to kick it with what is a truly unique sound. The fast swell of ‘Mirror’ progresses into a dreamy elation, (seemingly floating along) and almost as quickly, mid way through, drops into a synth-laden, dance-fuelled swing. The accumulation of sounds is at times overwhelming, but meticulously placed (to every avail). The room was well and truly packed out, with an atmospheric buzz that lingered with the heat.
At last, BADBADNOTGOOD took to the stage. Without wasting a second, they launched into it. They opened with ‘Triangle’; a prime example of their breadth that parades elements of progressive free jazz, electronica, rock and trip-hop. Their sound was immediately more captivating in a live setting than on their recordings, as though there were a restriction lifted from every note, every beat and every sound. There was electricity in the air that was carried through their performance of virtuous jazz. The moments of thoughtful spaciousness were as much an experience of active listening as those jam-packed with meticulous sounds.
The show followed on as their most recent release lll does, with ‘Can’t Leave The Night’. The hard-hitting opening balances out with a simple key progression. The clever use of repletion carries this song to an undeniably suspenseful build – leading to the sweatiest drop you ever did see. Following on with their new song, ‘Velvet’, there was a clear shift in musical styling. A slower, more relaxed vibe that at first seemed to lack the same energetic intensity that runs so vividly through their most recent LP. Moving along with a gentle simplicity, it picked up mid way through and one could immediately feel that steadfast pace rejoining.
Matthew Tavares, Chester Hansen and Alexander Sowinski can put on a superfluously sweaty, exceedingly brilliant and undoubtedly varied show that would rival (probably far exceed) anyone else of their age. Their songs have a lingering familiarity, a reintegration of melody that creates a familiar listening experience – perhaps a more accessible jazz for our time.