Review and photos by Mike Bax

CRX is the less obvious (but in my opinion, far superior) side project that has spun out of New York five-piece garage rockers The Strokes. Formed by guitarist Nick Valensi, the band features Ralph Alexander of The Dose, Richie Follin of Guards, along with Darian Zahedi and Jon Safley of The Reflections. Unlike the solo albums from Julian Casablancas and Albert Hammond, Jr. (which are decent, but ultimately reside in the nether regions of my basement music horde – unplayed), CRX is a 10 song, 30-minute opus that hits the listener like a bucket of cold water in the face. In the weeks since it’s release, I’ve played it way more than everything by Casablancas and Hammond, Jr. combined.

This evening’s Toronto performance was very much like the recently released CRX debut album, entitled New Skin; It was rife with wonderful uptempo buzz-saw guitar riffs, boasted an excellent array of original songs, ended too soon and ultimately left everyone wanting more. Not a bad way to deliver an album, and not a bad way to end a show, really.

Cast amidst some muted lighting (hardly any front lights and green, blue, red and yellow back flood lighting), The five members of CRX played all but one of the songs on their new album out of sequence, stopping briefly between songs to chat a bit with the audience. Nick commented on the venue, how happy he was to be back in Canada, touched on the US Presidential Election results, and joked a bit about their tour-mates, Streets of Laredo and The Gloomies.

Streets of Laredo (New York by way of New Zealand) and The Gloomies (California) both offered up quality sets this evening. Streets of Laredo, an uptempo folk band, heavy on the percussion, put on a cool 30 minute set of music. The band are on our very own Dine Alone Records, and were quite entertaining to watch and hear. The Gloomies took the stage at 8pm all decked out in white pants and shirts and played a half hour of fresh indie-pop, rife with some cool guitar riffs and a vibe that can only come from the hot southern California locale.

This was an up-close-and-personal evening featuring three cool bands in a lovely venue for not a lot of money! A great evening of music – I’m feeling a post-concert glow today that only comes from a winning evening of live music.

Setlist:
On Edge
Give It Up
Broken Bones
One Track Mind
Unnatural
Slow Down
Ways To Fake It
Monkey Machine
Walls

www.crxmusic.com/
twitter.com/crxmusic
www.facebook.com/CRXmusic
streetsoflaredomusic.com
soundcloud.com/thegloomies