Despite of, or maybe because of, a series of questionable life choices, Noise Road has some unique experiences in some disparate parts of the world burnt into our skull. Music is my first love, and my days are soundtracked. Whenever I can get away with it, an IPod is jammed into my ears – on the way to work, at work… on a slow train to Oxford, or a budget flight to Helsinki. My last 4 years have been punctuated by killer gigs in the UK, but also in Europe and now in North America.
When Ken Mode launched into the opening riff of Daeodon, my eyes shut, my body grooved… and I had a memory jolt of looping that track, Irvine Welsh novel in fist, on a train between Amsterdam airport and the Roadburn Festival. It may not seem like much to you, but these flashes of good times make me think that not all my life choices have been wrong. I have seen and heard some cool shit in some unique places.
It was 21 degrees in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago. I was glad that the weather had held for a minute on my arrival into Canada. This morning it was -7 degrees. The locals didn’t even blink. This isn’t cold. Wait for winter.
So in 3 layers of clothes, I booked on over to Cafe Deckuf. Downstairs, Orange Goblin played the main Mavericks room. Orange Goblin are great live. It was a shame to miss them. But KEN Mode, dude. KEN Mode!
Ottawa locals, Black Oak Decline, kicked off the evening with a bass-driven, sludgy-hardcore set. Most of the punters were here already, and an energetic set on a Tuesday night was warmly received.
Full of Hell truly play Noise Rock. That is noise and rock. Their knob twiddling feedback and reverb ebbs and flows, saturating the room with noise, before they locking in to furious blasts. Its like Eyehatedgod on speed… well, Eyehategod on more speed.
KEN Mode open the attack with Counter Culture Complex. Before boarding the stage, KEN Mode seemed like a bunch of laid-back dudes. They chatted with the punters and with local faves, Fuck the Facts. Now KEN Mode fully embody their Black Flag inspired name, Kill Everyone Now Mode.
Vocalist/Guitarist, Jesse Matthewson, has the crazy eyes. The dude looks like he wants to kill everyone now. At the close of the last song, he picks out individuals in the crowd and holds a stare at them. I was one of those dudes. I came back from that void broken.
Secret Vasectomy and Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick may have jokey titles, but there is not an ounce of irony or humour in the set. It is flat out intensity.
KEN Mode and Ottawa, you have burnt a fresh memory into my skull.