Concert Reviews

USS with Repartee at Danforth Music Hall

Photos by Sue Sadzak

Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker has always been, in my mind, a fantastic idea. Bands that combine unlikely instrumentation always grab my attention, and USS’s acoustic guitar/turntables is my go to example for why. In the last of their 6 In The 6ix run, in which they played 6 shows at 6 different Toronto venues for 6 days in a row, USS pulled out all the stops.

Repartee opened for USS, and put on a hell of a show. Lead singer Meg Warren toted a lightsaber-esque mic stand around the stage, belting out round after round of infectious dance pop hits. Their music has the charisma and attitude of a band headlining Coachella, and yet, between songs, Warren was quick to express her humble gratitude at the opportunity to bask in the USS shadow. I like to think it’s the Newfie in them.

Even before the headliner came out, it was clear they were ready to start a riot. The stage was flanked by two massive set walls, painted to depict quotes from their songs and a variety of imagery reminiscent of the Berlin Wall. Within the first 10 minutes of the show, Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons had: broken into a massive sweat, scratched while doing a headstand, and crowdsurfed. Wikipedia lists his position in the band as “turntablist/hype man”, which could not be more appropriate: the man spends as much time jumping off of various props on stage as he does scratching and mixing. He showed absolutely no restraint or evidence of having done about the same thing for the previous five nights.

The other half of USS, Ashley Buchholz, was equally on point. For most songs, his aggressive tone complements his impassioned lyrics tremendously. However, perhaps his highest points in the set were when he was left alone on stage. With the same, impassioned voice, he sang softly of the frustrations and turmoils of love and relationships; it was a highly emotional moment in the theater. But just as soon as he finished (and, honestly, took some time to emotionally recover), it was right back into the bangers.

USS managed to squeeze not one, but TWO encores out of the night. In the first encore, Parsons had a simple instruction: “Let’s make a wall of death!” And with that, a sea was parted down the middle of the crowd until, at last the drop came, and real party began. I was honestly surprised it took as long as it did for a mosh pit to form, but when it finally did, it was as massive as it was friendly. And no, I don’t mean it was tame; on the contrary, it was exceptionally rowdy, but there was a lot of love flying around that pit. You know you are in a loving mosh when 8 people stop to help one person get up. It continued right up until they ended the night with the rabble rousing Yin Yang.

These two bands will be touring Canada starting in January, so look out for them if they are in town.