Thursday, September 24, 2009

Show Stopper: USS with Rebel Emergency @ the Ale House

Obviously having nothing better to do on a Wednesday night, I sojourned off-campus to the Ale House, an 800-capacity bar and live venue in downtown Kingston. Shortly after I arrived, Toronto funk-reggae rock act Rebel Emergency opened up. While not my taste per se, they definitely warmed up the crowd. The highlight was a very competent cover of Kings of Leon’s “Fans”.

Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker combines a more conventionally singer/songwriter (with amplified acoustic guitar) with a hype-man in charge of beats and blips and such, as well as pumping up the crowd. Curiosity mounted as a blender, fresh fruits and an ECG machine were brought on stage, and the trend continued into the act itself, which featured sequins, handstands, lab coats, cartwheels, piggy-back rides, destroying equipment, making a smoothie, crowd-surfing on a surfboard, and cardboard cut-outs of Obama, David Suzuki and Ellen DeGeneres.

Musically, the set tended to become a bit monotonous to a casual fan like myself. While local radio hits “2 and 15/16ths” and “Hollow Point Sniper Hyperbole” as well as a nice cover of “Hey Ya” electrified the crowd, only the superfans were truly captivated by the rest. At the end of the night, poor Ellen was thrown into the crowd. A piece of her leg is now on my wall.

If you’re looking for entertainment and unparalleled stage presence, this is a must. For jaw-droppingly awesome music, perhaps not. The venue and sound were okay, and there were about 5 obnoxious assholes in the crowd, but these are things that will change from show to show. If you want a new take on presenting live music in a way that puts the music and spectacle at the same level on less of a Pink Floydian scale, try these guys out. Their touring schedule can be found on their myspace.

For your own enjoyment, feel free to peruse my favourite song of theirs, “2 and 15/16” in streaming audio and download below. Happy Listening!

USS - "2 and 15/16" (Download)

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