Show Review: Junior Boys, Miracle Fortress
Last Friday’s show for Junior Boys at Johnny Brenda’s had a pleasant twist – Miracle Fortress as the opener. While the sold-out show appeared amped to hear the Domino group, the all-in-one performance of Graham Van Pelt nearly stole the show.
As his playing partner mimicked a drum machine, Van Pelt oscillated between the keyboard, pedals, the guitar and the microphone. While Miracle Fortress‘ sophomore album Was I The Wave? is just a one-dimensional peek into the workings of the Canadian artist, the live show had a captivating exploration into the inner gears. Layers created through pedal looping of guitar riffs, preordained bass lines and vocal harmonies kept the crowd swaying from their left to right throughout the set.
The peak performance came last for Miracle Fortress as the awe-inspiring “Raw Spectacle” slowly bore into the invigorated hearts of the late-night show spectators. The timing and flexibility of Van Pelt during this 5:30 song served as a means for added appreciation, yet when he began playing the electric drums to compliment his stage mate, the track became more than just part of the show but a memory to latch onto.
Miracle Fortress is finishing up their tour with Junior Boys tomorrow, June 25 before heading back to Quebec for a show with Plants & Animals and the Festival d’ete de Quebec. Miracle Fortress can be found at the website or Facebook.
Junior Boys arrived a few minutes before midnight under faded red and blue stage lights and the sparkle of a twirling disco ball. The two-man group of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus added an electrical hand for the show, who was donning a well-worn undershirt. When we thought we might be slightly disappointed thanks to a phenomenal effort by Miracle Fortress and our unfamiliarity with the new album It’s All True, Junior Boys proved worthy of the headliner.
With Greenspan controlling the spotlight in his just-came-from-work clothes, the group bent into the synth and drum-machine beats. While familiar tracks aroused the crowd more (“In the Morning”, “Work”) than other, newer tracks (“Itchy Fingers”), the crispness of a mostly synthetic sound had the packed house in an constant frenzy. To end the show after the encore, the group featured the increasingly popular “Banana Ripple” song where Greenspan’s incessant singing of “No you never” appeased the still active audience.