Review by Andrew Horan
Fans of synth-pop bands like Chvrches and Purity Ring should definitely take notice of Toronto duo Bad Channels.
The pair stuck out on the Thursday night line-up thanks to their unconventional stage set-up that featured a TV where the static vibrated in time to the beats, a bass drum that gave many of the songs an almost tribal feel and a lap top.
The stage remained in virtual darkness throughout their set and it was fitting since their music sounds like it would have been the ideal soundtrack for a science fiction movie from the 80’s about a dystopian future. In fact, the band kicked off their set with a song that sounded like just a synth-pop track from the “Me Decade”.
Singer Jessica Gierusz‘s vocals were somewhat monotone but that may have just been due to the murky sound that plagued the evening. The heavy beats leant an almost industrial feel to many of the songs. One short and to the point number featured sampled guitars, which was fitting given the punk-like nature of the song.
Gierusz and bandmate Nick Grottick kept up a good energy level, dancing around the stage but their attempts at engaging the audience were somewhat hard to make out for anyone except the growing crowd that gathered around the ‘Shoe’s stage.
They took things down a notch for one of the final songs and turned in a surprisingly heartfelt cover of Madonna’s ‘Frozen’ for their second last song. At one point, Grottick pounded on the drum the pair had set up in the center of their stage.
They wrapped things up with a short song that featured shouted vocals from Gierusz.
Given the popularity of electro two- and three-pieces and their engaging stage presence, we’re doubtlessly going to be hearing more from Bad Channels in the future.