Holy Fuck @ The Independent 6/8/2010

June 10. 2010 | By Spencer

It’s easy to make assumptions about electronica groups. One or two dudes lurking over computers and switches cranking out chaotic noises to a hypnotized crowd. But Tuesday night at The Independent in San Francisco, Holy Fuck showed that there’s more to electro dance-rock than simply pushing some buttons on a laptop. Armed with a suit case full of keyboards and other eccentric toys, the Canadian four piece, that’s right four, rocked a fairly packed house of musical gizmo enthusiasts.

photo by Spencer Crooks

Holy Fuck is a hybrid band, half traditional rock band, half euro-electronica; a musical minotaur if you will, which makes for an awesome live show. At center stage Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh shuffle through a smorgasbord of noise makers, some traditional keyboards, and some very non-traditional, a 35 mm film synchronizer. The two pound away creating danceable tunes, beats and ambient sounds, tossing aside keyboards like they were guitar picks. They are the electronic head of the minotaur. They really love what they do, taking little time to interact with the crowd, aside from a brief pause in the show to hold a funeral for one of Walsh’s keyboards. Filling out the body of the beast are Matt McQuaid on bass and Matt Schulz on drums. McQuaid is a hybrid in his own right one minute rocking a groovy rhythm the next cranking up the effects turning his bass into a robotic symphony of distorted sound. McQuaid never stopped dancing and jumping the whole way through, bringing real life to the performance. His traditional instrument counterpart, Schulz, is the heartbeat of the band. He is a machine, playing harder than any computer could, cranking out neck-break beats, organizing and leading the electronic noises like a drumming pied piper. Schulz was not all traditional, he did control a drum machine that he seemed to take joy in battling with. It was like seeing a cat and dog play, two things that are normally enemies existing in harmony.

photo by Spencer Crooks

The group has definitely taken a step away from their “experimental” roots adopting a much more traditional, albeit very unique style. This is apparent from their latest release Latin which is a straight up dance record with much more organization and composition than their previous albums, which also made up the majority of Holy Fuck’s set list. They are much more experimental in practice than in sound. Though having been known for so long as an avant-electro band, they seem to attract a crowd that is more interested in studying their technique than actually enjoying, and god forbid, dancing to the music. There were a handful of people dancing their asses off, unable to control the urge to jump, shake, and flail. The rest of the audience stood as still as they possibly could without so much as a head nod. The immobile crowd seemed to be the Holy Fuck purists, interested in the function of the band, transfixed on the methods of noise making and defiantly refusing to accept them as a dance-rock band. The rest fully embraced the band’s new style, dancing the night away.

This paradigm is definitely something to keep in mind when going to see Holy Fuck. The group could not have rocked harder, but the stagnant crowd made it difficult to be taken away by the sound. A packed house of dancing fools would have made the show much more enjoyable, but this is by no means a reflection of the band who are sure to rock the rest of their tour with the energy and enthusiasm that they brought to the San Francisco.

photo by Spencer Crooks

photo by Spencer Crooks

For more radical photos of the show, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/theowlmag/sets/72157624117191129/

photo by Spencer Crooks

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