Girth opens Sackville’s Bordertown Festival

The town of Sackville hosted its second annual Bordertown Festival last weekend, a celebration highlighting town culture and promoting local business. One of the events which took place at Thunder & Lightning showcased Sackville local Zack Bruce, followed by the newly minted band Girth. This show displayed a side of the Sackville music scene startlingly opposite to the folk and indie this town is often associated with.

The night was opened by DJ Zack Bruce, who played a set consisting of future bass bangers. The hour-long mix flowed seamlessly through a variety of different sounds, showcasing the best experimental pop has to offer, as well as some of Bruce’s own compositions. His set had a darker tilt than usual, in contrast to the airy flittering future bass of his previous sets – bass lines lurked and crept as the crowd danced out their dread.

After a brief intermission, the DJ hopped behind the drum kit as Sackville’s newest band Girth took the stage. The crowd waited in anticipation; this was Girth’s debut show, and everyone seemed unsure of what to expect. Opening the show with a jazz-influenced jam session, the band quickly morphed into a hardcore act, awash in noise and screaming.

Vocalist James Fagan howled as a wall of noise built, and for a minute I was genuinely scared I was going to go deaf. The band held the barrage of noise for what felt like an eternity, imprisoning the crowd in the static abyss. Bassist Phil Legere thrashed around with his instrument as if he were trying to strangle it into submission. Meanwhile, Bruce triggered samples with an MPC as he drummed, giving the band a unique sound that mixed hardcore and hip hop. They were creating a progressive mess of noise that was unlike anything I have ever heard from a Sackville band thus far. Bruce fought with his drum kit, breaking his kick pedal during the set and decimating every drumstick he had, as he  created a solid structure to frame the noise being produced from Fagan and Legere’s playing.

The band displayed a wide range of influences in their sound; industrial destruction was punctured by house chords that built up just to drop into crunching noise, and ear drum busting breakdowns morphed into Krautrock influenced jams. Though the sounds were eclectic, everything was in its right place, and the sound came together creating an interesting and well structured whole.

A remix of Rihanna’s 2015 single “Bitch Better Have My Money” was the centerpiece of the set, with the band turning the track into an industrial mess. It was as if Rihanna was screeching from the confines of a cardboard compactor in some hellish factory of noise. As the crowd moshed during the last song of the set, Legere’s bass amp was unplugged by flailing limbs. Legere reacted quickly, fixing the issue and snapping into a face melting bass solo, and the band launched into their final track of the evening.  Though the show was rather short, lasting only five songs, the crowd was frothing at the mouth for more as the set came to a close. As Girth left the stage, it definitely seemed as if they were down with the thickness.

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