Not Of album release show @ The Magpie Taproom, Toronto, ON – April 18, 2015
It’s only in this day and age of digital music distribution that a band can throw an album release party on Record Store Day with nary a physical album to be found. Up-and-coming noise rock duo Not Of showed up to the Magpie Taproom on Saturday night (in more ways than one), bringing with them a box of t-shirts and a slew of free magnets for the merch table. Hoping to pick up a copy of their debut album Pique in physical format? Sorry! It’s only available via (free) download from their Bandcamp page. Oh yes, music fans. The times they are a changin’.
Fortunately there is still something special about saddling up to a dimly lit bar and witnessing, with frosty beer can in hand, an impressive set by a local rock band who refuse to play at anything other than top volume. For the uninitiated, that’s one thing you will quickly learn about Not Of: they are loud. The teeth-chattering, ear-shattering type of loud that makes you grin from ear to ear and forget that there are only two people up on stage. And this is precisely where Not Of excel.
While other two-piece bands can often sound flat, front man John Ex and drummer Jason Séance offer much more than the sum of their individual parts. The songwriting is both aggressive and catchy in equal measure, and John’s thick and fuzzy guitar riffs are delivered with a surprising level of fullness thanks to a myriad of pedals that he expertly navigates (despite an insistence that, on this occasion, it’s a bit too dark to see). Meanwhile, Jason attacks his small but snappy kit with remarkable precision and tightness. His playing style is energetic yet exacting; interesting yet satisfyingly straight forward. If either of the two fell short, you’d know it. The only wish for this performance would be louder vocals, but the PA system didn’t stand a chance.
The small audience inside the Magpie Taproom was quiet throughout, but it was fuelled by captivation rather than boredom. And that’s what’s so special Not Of. They’re the kind of band that will simultaneously destroy your ears and capture your heart. The first step, then, is downloading their album.
Photos © 2015 Stephanie Bell. All rights reserved.
Stephanie Bell | www.emergingphoto.ca
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