INCLINE∆DECLINE kicked off in the Royal City on Friday night with a bang. Bile Sister, Jay Arner, and The Ketamines melted some brains in Guelph’s newly renovated art space, Silence.
Julia Reich a.k.a. Bile Sister (you may also know her as DJ Garbage Body), loops infectious vocal hooks effected with verb and scuzz, while her band oozes deep Casio-driven grooves. Bile Sister takes pop-music and drags it through the slop of urban muck, at once alienating and provoking our weary and still growing audience. I wish Bile Sister could close the festival too, so we can clearly measure our decline into depravity.
Jay Arner and his band are from Vancouver and are touring their way out east (see you at Sappy, Jay!). The road is long, the drives are hard, and fatigue can overwhelm. And yet, the band was all smiles, excited to be in Guelph, and playfully stoking the swelling crowd (“Young Guns 1! Young Guns 2!”). Jay and co. rip up sun soaked cuts in our hot little room on Essex. Every harmony is tight, every song is a hit. These west-coasters drip with a sweetness not easily found in Sou-western Ontario. We are lucky to have this west coast golden boy at our new and already special festival.
The Ketamines have T.O. grit in their veins. They beat out garage-slop hooks with swaggering charm. Paul makes the much needed request for the audience to gather closer to the performers. With shyness out of the way, the crowd bops and sways along to these howling, snarling fiends. As the Ketamines are finishing their set with the psych-pop blaster “You Can’t Serve Two Masters,” the crowd speeds up their drinking, and looks more ready than ever to keep the night alive. Sorry folks, it’s just day one, just a warm-up, just a test. The gauntlet begins tonight with two back to back weirdo-punk shows. Get ready.