Dead Owls/Flower Mouth/Children
Saturday, October 20, 2013
The PICA Bar seems to be the perfect venue for the grassroots local music scene and its small space was filled with an interesting combination of acts for the launch of Little Skye’s debut single Didn’t Say A Thing. The brain child of front woman Ashby Ransom, who initially performed her original compositions as a solo artist, Little Skye brings together a superlative group of musicians to create something wonderful.
The first supporting act for the evening was the fresh faced four piece Children. Their music is certainly not without good intentions as they transitioned from a boppy, pop laced style to a melancholic one reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins. Having said this, the vocals were often cringe worthy and attempts at harmony and precision felt lacking. The final song contained flat and entirely unbelievable societal damnations.
Flowermouth were next to take the floor level stage and kicked the energy up a notch with a style that was hard to place into a genre box. The wall of distorted riffs were punctuated by a strong effort by the front man’s vocals . Their full sound was packed with emotion and was heavy without being overbearing which is no small feat in PICA bar.
Next on the bill were Dead Owls who deserve an especially honourable mention for playing through the squealing fire alarm. Giving no regard to the ear splitting siren, they cranked up the volume a few notches and their creative force quickly became the focal point. This incredibly tight two piece, consisting of just drummer and guitarist, put on an energetic performance brimming with intensity. Their crunchy sound was paired with clean lines from the vocalist which were let loose into controlled screams at just the right moments.
Taking their place quietly on the stage, hindered/helped by a local drunkard, Little Skye took their turn to shine. Little by name by not by nature, the band put on a hugely musical show, making use of interesting timing executed with perfect accuracy. This felt like a very organic culmination of talent as the band slid smoothly between tempos and styles. These swift changes from toe-tapping excitement to head-swaying introspection, combined with the rustic appeal of violinist India Ransom’s abilities, made for an engaging experience.
A ridiculously surprising and admittedly wonderful re-imagining of Madison Avenue’s Don’t Call Me Baby was the icing on the cake of a rich and delicious set. Perhaps the only downside to this technically amazing group was the nonchalant and arbitrary nature of Ashby Ransom’s disinterested between track banter.
One of the most magical things about free live music is that you are given a room full of energy and, more often than not, a showcase of genuine passion and skill without being asked to give anything but your attention as payment. The returns on this investment were immense and on the back of such a tight offering, it seems that Little Skye are destined for broad horizons.
_ JAMES HANLON