Archie Pelago MAC Salle 2, Montreal QC, May 30
Published Jun 02, 2014A turbulent free-jazz opener set an odd tone for Archie Pelago's EM15 show, leaving some fans unsure whether to start moving or stand back in muted appreciation. This was soon overthrown, however, by chunky bass lines, launching the gig into the danceable show that everyone was hoping for. While house music has always been jazzy, having those components performed in a live format is a rare spectacle. For Archie Pelago, though, it seemed business as usual, as the Brooklyn trio sported a saxophone, cello, and an array of laptops and mixers.
At times it was a little overbearing, with wailing saxophone solos and off the cuff sampling making for a busy mix. They hopped from avant-garde, downtempo sections to no-nonsense pounding beats at various points throughout the set. Whenever the group did reel back to a basic format it was amazing and universally well-received. Unfortunately, these instances were too often punctuated by drawn out, overblown segments, forcing the crowd to switch between flailing arms and stroking chins.