Nadja/Picastro @ the Tranzac, Toronto, ON, September 11, 2009

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By Melissa Andrews, Photos by Mark Coatsworth

The community centre atmosphere of Tranzac was the location of Nadja and openers Picastro September performance. The venue is suited to the indie artistic crowd that gathered. Lit candles dotted the mismatched tables where people munched on take out food and drank draft beer. Chairs were piled in the back for people to grab and seat themselves anywhere if they didn’t arrive early enough to sit at a table. Nadja had a well stocked merchandise table with oodles of different records, CD’s and economical 10 dollar t-shirts.

Local band Picastro set up in front of the stage to make use of an out of tune dilapidated piano to go along with vocals, percussion and various stringed instruments. Their sound is an artsy, folksy rock combination of musical tinkling. Front person Liz Hysen talks softly through out the set to a polite crowd. She tries to engage the audience in small talk when during the set a guitar string decides to snap and put a damper on the set. They never did get the thing working properly even after another band member tried to fix it and an unanswered call to any guitar techs in attendance.

It took the crowd a few minutes to realize that Nadja had actually started playing and weren’t engaging in the usual pre performance sound check. They decided to use the clubs stage. The stage reminded me of a tiny stage used for elementary school productions. The duo consisting of Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff had set up their guitars, bass and a variety of electronic thingies. As per usual with this type of music there was very little interaction with the audience during the performance. Buckareff had her back turned so we weren’t even able to glimpse any facial expressions.

The lack of visual stimulation didn’t stop the audience from listing with rapt attention to the audio stimulation. They played what I believe was three songs (sometimes it’s a bit hard to tell when it’s an almost constant barrage of noise). I was pleasantly surprised how well the music translated into the live setting as I always wonder with this type of music, as on occasion it doesn’t work. If Nadja comes to where you live to play live I’d recommend giving them a listen.

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Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.