Big Dick / Kurt Marble Handlebar, Toronto ON, May 15
Published May 16, 2015Ottawa drum and bass duo Big Dick attract a notable amount of attention with their evocative name (it's taken from a Nomeansno song), but the music is the reason fans are flocking. Their latest release, Disappointment, is a clever amalgamation of an array of subgenres from post-hardcore, '90s alternative and Canadian indie, punk and hard rock. The resulting potent combo of turbulent heaviness and compelling, addictive harmonies has garnered unanimously positive reviews. The band headlined the first of two nights of the Wavelength May Long Weekend Blowout on Friday (May 15) at Handlebar.
After a series of openers, including DJs Ravetapes, surf-rockers Battlewulf and the chaotic Pucumber Sasssquash Family Band, who couldn't fit on the stage (the lead singer took to the floor), Kurt Marble started at midnight and drew out the largest crowd of the night. His reverb-soaked retro, grungy power pop and stage presence — he wore a muumuu over shorts — were endearing.
A decent crowd re-gathered for Big Dick. They thanked the crowd and promised to be succinct before launching into "Mariner," off their latest release, and grooved in sync on "Crawl," straight into the staccato "Another Minute." They played their whole set with little to no banter, maintaining momentum through brief stints of drums and feedback between songs.
The fireworks projected on to a screen behind them suited their explosive performance. They mostly played with their eyes closed (the projector shining fiercely was maybe to blame), giving it their all. They rarely needed to exchange glances, but when they did, it was with a smile. Dave Secretary's eyes rolled back in his head as he slammed the drums while Johnny O teetered around on the stage. They were tight and energetic, especially on their self-titled release's "Medic."
An unexpected cover of the Inbreds' "Any Sense of Time" was a fitting homage to the '90s indie that informs the band's unique sound, and they played it with real reverence, Secretary smashing the mic away and leaving it there to recreate the vocal quality of the Inbreds' recording.
Big Dick were the highlight of the night. With their name and sound, they struggle getting on the right bills, and while Marble seemed like a fitting act to follow, disorganization and delays throughout the night led to a late set time which meant they didn't get the crowd their performance deserved. Two dudes on stage churning it out with nothing to hide behind leaves no margin for error, and Big Dick didn't have a single one.