WAVELENGTH 2019: KINGDOM OF BIRDS & NÊHIYAWAK
@ THE MONARCH TAVERN, TORONTO
FEBRUARY 17, 2019
The Monarch Tavern has hosted some great independent rock bands. After braving the bitter cold, eager fans started piling into the dimly lit venue at around three o’clock in the afternoon this past Sunday.
Kingdom of Birds opened with a fast-paced indie performance. The group members’ appearances were striking; they were significantly younger than most people in the audience, which is surprising considering the sophisticated quality of their music. The lead singer’s outfit was covered in sequins and glitter, which was well-suited to their noisy and jangling sound. Kingdom of Birds wears its ‘90s and 2000s rock influences on its sleeve: “Can you see me and everything I’ve done/Rapidly strumming like I’m Broken Social Scene/But this is only a dream”, Ása Berezny sang melancholically, paying homage to the Canadian indie legends.
The indigenous space rock trio Nêhiyawak (actually a labelmate of Broken Social Scene), took the stage next. In a completely dark auditorium, they dove into some atmospheric jams, mixing the sound and culture of their Cree heritage with Western music, to create some truly unique melodies. The set often leaned toward drone, with its distorted guitars and layered synth. Although the music has a bit of a brooding aura, people in the audience were quick to start dancing, especially during songs with an exciting groove such as “Open Window”. The crowd of family, friends, and new fans could easily become a devoted cult following. Be prepared to hear more from this band.
(Photography by Cory Barter)