Psychedelic and indie music collide at the Legion

Kavorkas offer a new lineup and altered sound.

Psychedelic garage rock was on full display last Friday at the Legion. The three bands performing—Walrus and the Grubbies, both of Halifax, and the Kavorkas from Sackville—all had distinctive takes on the subgenre, yet all hung close enough together to make the night a complete and complementary package.

The Grubbies, who opened the Friday night show of Stereophonic in January, began the night with their poppy tunes. They were first and foremost agreeable and, while not adventurous, they did not need to be. Their music was light-hearted and the audience found it easy to stay in the rhythm. As good as this made the music initially, near the end of the set it began to feel a little tried and lost some of its lustre and memorability in the process. Their catchiness really got the audience into the performance as a whole well, setting the stage for a night with a more active crowd than is the norm.

The Kavorkas brought a new lineup to the Legion, morphing from a three- to a two-piece act. The lineup transformation resulted in a great change to their sound as well. Previously, the Kavorkas had been a fairly predictable indie rock band, but on Friday they were much more experimental, depending more heavily on instrumentals and effects. The difference made for a pleasant surprise. That is not to say that there were not any growing pains. The duo seemed a bit overworked in their more strenuous positions, trying to account for the work of three between the two of them.  Nonetheless, it was evident that the Kavorkas have a lot of room to grow and that their newfound sound is ripe with the possibility for innovation.

Halifax’s Walrus finished the night with their heavily psychedelic garage rock. Each song changed its pace a couple of times, shifting between vocals with heavy reverb over slow, gilded guitar riffs and wild, thrashing guitar and bass climaxes. However, in this back and forth, some of the nuance got lost: the vocals were too quiet when the band picked up and the band was under-utilized when the music slowed. Despite this, what Walrus brought was a remarkably well-polished product that was easily the most professional of the three acts.

Like their Stereophonic showing in January, Walrus’s music matched up very well with the other performances, each sounding similar but not enough so as to force the night into monotony. It felt like the possible combinations of psychedelia and indie rock were all on display, letting the audience walk away satisfied no matter what appealed to them the most.

The night was well-attended at its onset, but as it wore on the crowd began to dwindle, shrinking from a number approaching forty to approximately twenty people. Long spaces between performances also made the show longer than it had to be, as Walrus did not begin playing until after midnight.

Music from the Grubbies and Walrus can be found on Bandcamp.

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