Published Nov 04, 2010Hamilton, ON's Casbah set up a small free pre-show in its lounge, greeting Melissa Auf der Maur fans with some local female-fronted alt-rock and a steamy atmosphere (smelling at little masculine by the time the band's set was over). The crowd looked huge in this small space, inching their way through the door and around the corner toward the main event. People gradually eased into and filled the room, enough to feed the collective electricity without cutting off too much personal space.
Things stalled for a bit with opening act Weekend Riot Club, who, despite a powerful frontwoman and free lollipops, were too steeped in rock formulas to complement Auf der Maur's more mystical aura. The psychedelic garage rock flavour of Montrealers Final Flash was a much better fit. Their music and performance felt profoundly nostalgic, accented with harmonica and spacey sounds, laying down a few otherworldly threads that MAdM would take up, weave and tear apart.
After a dramatic but not too-prolonged delay, Auf der Maur's bandmates took to the stage with little MAdM insignias emblazoned on their chests, and the woman herself quickly followed. This was the second date of a multi-continent tour with a fairly fresh backing band, though the four musicians onstage were too closely attuned for the newness to show through.
Instead of exploiting her Hole/Smashing Pumpkins connections, Auf der Maur focused her set lists on solo material -- in this case, 2010's Out of Our Minds, with some debut album tracks thrown in as well. Playing live brings out Auf der Maur's inner rock goddess (with bass neck raised high), giving her songs and delivery a raunchy weight and a crackling raw energy. For one track fans experienced Auf der Maur as vocalist only, but it's with bass in hand that she truly reigns and looks most ecstatic, that ecstasy dripping off into the room and into the crowd around her. After an incredibly short hour, MAdM said good night by reprising her cover of Type O Negative covering Black Sabbath, bringing it all, too soon, to a climactic close.