Tuesday is generally an off day for concerts in Victoria, but Oct. 1 was the exception with the arrival of Montreal-based four-piece post-punk outfit Ought at Lucky Bar. The bill included Victoria lo-fi psych pop band Jons to start off the night, followed by another Victoria band, 222, playing a unique mixture of punk and funk.
Audience members already familiar with Ought’s debut album, More Than Any Other Day, on Constellation Records, got to hear the record front to back in a live setting. This approach certainly did justice to the spirit of the recording, which tries to encapsulate as much live energy as possible in the studio setting. The album gives fans a glimpse of the band’s sprawling and frenetic dynamic—jagged rhythms, slow building instrumentals, and drawn out phrases wrapping around vocalist/guitarist Tim Beeler’s eccentric songwriting and vocal style.
In terms of stage presence, Beeler combines the robotic movements of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis with a vocal style reminiscent of David Byrne from the Talking Heads, and a deadpan, matter-of-fact approach in his interactions with the audience.
Stopping shortly after the second song, “Today More Than Any Other Day,” Beeler took a moment to recognize the two supporting acts and asked to borrow a guitar. He joked that the show would be cancelled if he couldn’t find a replacement. Luckily enough, a replacement was brought out and the band transitioned into “Habit” without missing a beat.
About halfway into the band’s set, drummer Tim Keen brought out his violin to play the slow-burning ballad “Forgiveness,” keeping the kick drum active throughout the song, before abandoning the violin and erupting into the main drum pattern while grinning ear to ear.
The other members of the group—Matt May on keyboards and Ben Stidworthy on bass—were also dialed in throughout the performance. Ought blends youthful exuberance with a keen sense of musicality; it was a very personal live experience, especially in a smaller venue such as Lucky.
Whether you call it art-rock, post-punk, punk rock or just plain old rock n’ roll, the band demonstrated that they are more than capable of implementing all of these styles into a spirited, dynamic, and technically sound live performance.