Drainolith, C.J. Boyd & Gavin Noir manifest visions of life below the surface.
Friday nights tend to expose the grotesque underbelly of a city. As the work week comes to a close, our unfiltered yearnings for destruction rise to the fore, channeling human ugliness in all its various forms. Such a phenomenon need not be detrimental. The absurd side of human nature needs to breathe every now and then. In London, the absurd can find breathing room in the unique performance space of Vibrafusion Lab. This past Friday, three artfully bizarre acts divulged deep-seated passion to the crowd at Vibrafusion Lab and Fuse was there to document it.
The night’s first performer was C.J. Boyd, an amiable journeyman with a booming voice and a beard to match. Originally from California, Boyd has been touring for seven years (!), bringing his hushed atmospherics and warm spirit to venues across North America and Europe. On Friday, he lulled the crowd at Vibrafusion Lab into a state of introspection with dulcet hums and bass guitar loops. Upon cultivating a vulnerable, emotive environment, Boyd swapped out his electric bass for a double bass and launched into a powerful hymn. Lost in song, Boyd looked a rugged, nomadic spirit with a heart of gold. The crowd was held in rapture until his final, belted note.
Montreal’s trip-metal titans Drainolith follow ed Boyd with a wry, disjointed set that exposed a different level of the absurd. Tapping into no-wave, garage rock, industrial and noise, Drainolith mine the depths of the psyche, giving voice to internal mumblings. Their set layered the zonked-out mantras of Alex Moskos over wailing guitar riffs and the “trippy twins” cataclysmic rhythm section. Sometimes it sounded like everything was going to fall apart. Nothing feels rehearsed with Drainolith. They just channel the vibes.
Last but not least, London native Gavin Noir took to the stage for a midnight set of retro synth pop. With local fan base front and centre, Gavin crooned over his signature 80s-indebted production while coolly shuffling along to the beat. At times, Noir’s set felt reminiscent of local brethren New Zebra Kid with all the squelchy synths and retro kitsch. Indeed, by the end of the night Noir had enlivened the crowd with the same vivacious energy that circulates at a NZK show. It was a fitting finale to a strange but stimulating bill at Vibrafusion.