SoHo Ghetto Champions Bar & Grill, Truro NS, November 8
Published Nov 09, 2014It took a few songs for the volume at Champions to seemingly adjust to SoHo Ghetto — or perhaps that was just my ears. The loudness reflected, in part, just how much sound the band throw at you. Despite only being a five-piece, SoHo Ghetto have the span and scope of a much larger ensemble, which proves a good match for the more boisterous ends of their catalogue (if a bit cacophonous at first).
The Halifax band's set focused largely on their latest album, Thou or I or Both, released earlier this year. It's material that has a folk foundation but filtered through post-Arcade Fire indie rock lens: more crescendos, more pounding keys, more moments of release. The band's latest single, "Man Down," played moody and large, while brand new song "Comet" aped from '80s arena rock.
If band's omnivorous tastes have a centre, it's vocalist and frontman Marc-Antoine Robertson's flair for the dramatic. He poses as he sings, almost overwhelmed with trying to rip the feelings out of his songs. In the past, I've seen this prove incredibly effective in connecting with crowds, but last night it felt off against the vibe in the Truro bar and grill. It played as overbearing, unnecessarily performative, flirting with Neil Diamond moments that took away from the material rather than adding to it. SoHo Ghetto's songs are dramatic enough, really, to stand on their own.