Published May 23, 2019The Rock House stage is easily big enough to comfortably fit a four-piece band, but Absolutely Free pushed the space to its limits with racks of electronic gear and a drum kit situated towards the front.
This bounty of equipment proved to be both a blessing and a curse for the Toronto band. On one hand, they used the gear to create swaths of psychedelic noise to complement their hypnotic bass grooves; on the other hand, knob-twiddling soundscapes can sound great on record, but they're not particularly gripping in a live setting.
The first few songs of the set breezed by in a haze of steady Krautrock rhythms and echo-washed vocals, all of which sounded pleasant, but didn't leave much of an impression. But things took a turn for the chaotic in the final moments: a fan staggered onstage to briefly perform a swaying dance before being forcibly dragged off by security; a song later, singer-guitarist Matt King attempted to take off a layer of clothing mid-strum before knocking a mic stand over onto the drums.
This finale was frankly a bit of a mess, but it left the night with a compelling sense of unpredictability and danger — something that had been missing for most of the set.