It was Halifax night at Ritual Nightclub in Ottawa, with East Coast indie psych-pop rock quartet Walrus opening for Canadian alternative rock veterans Wintersleep – both of which originate from the Nova Scotia capital – as the headliners promoted their newly released sixth record The Great Detachment.
Dressed in a retro USA ski jacket and an equally as vintage Elton John hat, the lead singer of Walrus fit the part of the band’s garage rock style (and his moustache representing the band’s name), touching back to ’70s psychedelic and an obvious appreciation for The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and a hint of Black Sabbath, all blanketed in a more refurbished, modern setting. They bridged the gap between progressive and pop exceedingly well, welcoming an energetic applause as they closed their set.
Aside from a few brief “thank you”s and a nod to their opening act, Wintersleep eliminated any banter and stuck to playing music…for almost two hours. Their endurance and, level of performance stayed consistent and high throughout the entire set. Most notably, the jump-around guitar playing of Tim D’Eon, and the erratic and monstrous drumming of Loel Campbell (see psychedelic-picture below) put the show in an entirely new level. Campbell’s kinetic facial expressions personified his dynamic performance, as the band played a surprisingly large number of songs from New Interiors and before, dominating their 30 minute encore with their favourite classics. But of course, with the release of The Great Detachment this week, the Halifax/Montreal five-piece played a handful of hits from the new record.