The Wet Secrets performed on the final night of Wavelength, a band in marching uniforms complete with Canadian banner. I heard Jon Fratelli’s vocals and saw bouncing cleavage. That should be enough to capture the performance, but I’ll beat it out for you. The synchronized dancing by female back-up vocalists (the ones with the cleavage), and their brass instruments (hence the band uniforms), were not distracting in this case. Instead, the gimmick seemed to give the band a bit of an edge over many other existing bands of the same genre. A lot of experienced bands have a chord change in the middle of their more excellent songs before switching back, which isn’t an easy thing to do in a way that doesn’t fuck with the overall sound and flow of the song. Plus, what’s not to love about songs regarding burrito fights, suicide pacts, and metaphorical tennis.
The nostalgic music returned when Greys took the stage, and as always punk = mosh pit. As pop-punk band in an age where punk is passe and overdone, you could close your eyes and it would have been any punk band playing, but that’s the struggle, trying to find the bands that stand out. It is also very hard to a find a unique and identifying feature when you are a band, often timing is the main contributor to the fame of a band. Punk vocalists have to shout to be heard over their music, and bands have to shout to be vaguely acknowledged in this industry. The people in the mosh pit perhaps didn’t know why they liked the band, like those dancing to Biblical from the night before, but they liked them. This is not a bad thing, to appeal to people, however it will never be as new as something that has never been done before.
Cousins’ garage rock has never been done before. You could perhaps (if you really had to) draw parallels between Cousins and The White Stripes, but it’s a pretty rough parallel. The guitar and drum duo created this twangy, California-dreaming music. And then there’s a line between unique, individual, new music, and what appeals to the crowd. People don’t know what they should like, and it was interesting to contrast the response of the crowd to Cousins after their response to Greys. Nostalgic music is recognizable. New music is happening now, and is sometimes hard to see and notice, but can be felt. People like to listen to music that is relatable (“oh this band sounds like this band!”), a point of reference to know what is good music, and what is not. Sometimes it’s hard for people to relate to new music until somehow they become popular, but it is very VERY easy to see that happening for Cousins.
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Emily Fox | @foxyfoxe