July 21, 2014

That Was The Show That Was: Kestrels with Adult Dude, Fake Boys, SoftPyramids | TT The Bear's Place | 16 July

[PHOTOS: Dylan Stein] The notion of influence is particularly relevant when engaging with the music of Halifax-based shoegazers Kestrels. The act traffics in bountiful Creation Records-inspired swirling guitars, but Kestrels' brand of navel-gazery scans as far more self-realized than that of your average hip millennial nostalgists. Its songcraft and attention to detail pushes the Canadians' music beyond the realm of mere skillful homage; the songs buried underneath all the distortion and digital delay boast serious hooks, as their stripped-down, immediate live performance made plain when we saw the band last week. As fronter and guitarist Chad Peck puts it, these dudes live in the middle of the Canadian woods, not exactly a hotbed for progressive art, and yet the trio's approach to noise-pop -- and Mr. Peck's collection of Jazzmaster guitars -- speaks to a distinctive devotion to genre. We are fans of their most recent EP The Moon Is Shining Our Way, and were eager to see how the threesome reconstructed their wall-of-sound live when the act performed at TT The Bear's Place Wednesday.

Slotted third on the bill, Kestrels took to the TT's stage to a regrettable lack of fanfare. A sizeable crowd amassed front-of-house for Brooklyn-based fuzzstompers Adult Dude's preceding set, but significantly fewer stuck around for their Canadian tourmates. Poor decision-making, Boston, because Kestrels delivered a masterful set on the historic stage (one they expressed gratitude to be able to play upon). Opening with the title track of the aforementioned EP, the band punctuated its concise set with laudable instrumental interplay. While their music certainly favors texture over technicality, both Peck brothers (Devin handles bass duties for Kestrels) impressed in their own right, with Chad in particular laying down some impressive soloing amid stacked layers of squalling guitar. Drummer Paul Brown was no slouch either, applying thick Bonham-weight beats to a slow-churning rendition of Shining closer "The Double." Elsewhere, the band proferred some unreleased material, which evidenced more pronounced rhythmic variation without forsaking the thick guitars that characterize Kestrels' catalog to date. The earworm chorus of set closer "Eternal and Debased" days later continues to perambulate in our consciousness, rattling around along to the incessant ringing in our ears.

Local jangle-pop standouts Soft Pyramids, who we regrettably haven't heard from of late, opened with a pleasant set, while Lowell punks The Fake Boys batted cleanup. You can grab The Moon Is Shining Our Way on a 12" circular disc along with the accompanying digital files from Sonic Unyon right here. Care to try before you buy? Stream the entire EP via the embed below. -- Dillon Riley UNPUBLISH

Kestrels: Bandcamp | Facebook | Interzizzles

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