Alex Calder La Vitrola, Montreal QC, November 19
Published Nov 20, 2014By the time Alex Calder and his band took the stage at La Vitrola at almost 2 a.m., most of the people remaining were either other performers from the night or fellow festival attendees that were probably a few too many beers in. Alex Calder's brand of off-kilter slack rock would have probably fared better performed earlier, but his four-piece band, with two guitarists (including Calder), a bassist and a drummer, were very apt at turning chaos into melody, with each successive song managing to string together disjointed arrangements to interesting effect. They have an ear for catchy string combinations, like the ones on "Memory Resolve," included last year under his Mold Boy moniker on a self-titled release.
Many of the recorded versions were purely instrumental, but Calder infused them with disaffected vocals and deliberately off key delivery. The four members play well together, with a particular connection between the drummer and Calder, and were able to turn discorded guitar harmonies into engaging live compositions that mutated throughout their course. What brought the set down were the too-long breaks in between songs and sometimes psychedelic interludes, which highlighted the somewhat dishevelled setup. But then again, this was a 2 a.m. set at a free gig; these are small complaints for an otherwise solid performance.