Monday 2 May 2016

On Stage: Ought @ Paradiso Tolhuistuin

Last year Montreal band Ought released a very impressive album Sun Coming Down, that I thought was one of the best albums that year. They played a good show at Into The Great Wide Open last September, that made me long for a club show. Half a year later they are playing the Paradiso venue Tolhuistuin across the IJ water.

Ought at Paradiso Tolhuistuin, April 29 2016

Singer Tim Darcy asks during the show which venue people like more, the legendary Paradiso in the city centre or this one, the Tolhuistuin. They didn't know it was an island he adds, which it is not by the way, although the shortest way for many is a few minutes by ferry. It's one of the scarce moments Darcy is actually trying to have a conversation with the audience. For the rest he restricts himself to some quick thank yous when it comes to audience interaction. That is actually a good thing, because tonight it enables Ought to put up an impressive and intense show that keeps building up tension.

And that is exactly what their music needs to actually make an impact. The dark riffs are hammered into your head tonight and all the words in Darcy's nasal vocals hit us with great force. The first album already had some great stuff, like title track 'Today, More Than Any Other Day', that is spot on today. But their latest album 'Sun Coming Down' simply has so many of those songs like 'Men For Miles' with that repetitive chorus singing "There were men for miles/There were men for miles/And doesn't it just bring a tear to your eye". It is repeated so many times and builds up more tension every repetition, until it sounds like an abstract mantra.

That's where the strength of Ought lies, the words and music combined are shaping a structure until the band decides to either leave it or crush it with a bang. Like on the album 'Beautiful Blue Sky' is the centre piece, the monument where it all comes together. Darcy is raising his finger now and then as if he's trying to make a point, where he isn't really but it works very well. Sometimes they want to make the crowd uncomfortable in a song, where the music kind of itches and gets under your skin. Drummer Tim Keen doesn´t always play straightforward rock grooves, but instead is very creative in his drumming, which adds an extra dimension.

Tonight all these elements work very well where the band looks focused and in great shape. It's great to see when things all come together they can take their music to the next level and it really gets to you. I can't wait to hear new music by these guys.

All Pictures

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01. Sun's Coming Down
02. The Combo
03. Passionate Turn
04. Men for Miles
05. Beautiful Blue Sky
06. Pleasant Heart
07. On the Line
08. Habit
09. Never Better
10. Today, More Than Any Other Day
11. Pill

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