By Katie Seline - Wrong Side of the Bed - 02/02/2006

One of my favourite things about living in Montreal over the past five years has been the vast variety of live shows and great local bands. But over time, the city’s scene began to take a toll -- falling somewhere in between journalist and borderline wanna-be hipster, this DJ’s skin was beginning to wear thin. The girls were becoming just a little too frightening, the style just a little bit too much, the music getting lost in the scene itself. It was fitting, however, that I spend one of my last evenings in Montreal going to a show, and I think I chose the perfect one. It was an odd line-up, but one that was just comforting enough to be enjoyable and just as ridiculous enough to remind me that I am glad to be leaving.

Toronto’s Controller.Controller have been on the road with OK GO for a while now, opening for them over their US dates but trading places it seems in Canada. Controller headlined this show at Cabaret in Montreal and the result was an odd mix of teenage girls and Montreal hipsters, the girls overriding the latter in both number and voice. Even stranger than the line-up was the fact that the floor was packed for OK GO, who took the stage after the bizarre -- and I’m not going to lie to you -- pretty brutal Stop Die Resuscitate, but the crowd seemed to dissipate before frontwoman Nirmala Basnayake and gang came on. In any case, the crowd that remained provided a good reception for the band, but not what I would have expected considering the quality of their performance.

Both bands played incredibly well -- OK GO were much more entertaining than I had expected, having the energy and the sass that only a band with such a rabid following can have. They stole the show with their cover of ELO’s "Don’t Bring Me Down", followed later by their lip-sync dance performance of their single "A Million Ways to be Cruel". What I like most about Controller.Controller is that despite all the setbacks, the band plays with heart. Nirmala has that sex appeal that sometimes seems lacking in Canadian indie music. I don’t mean that girl-next-door appeal of Emily Haines (Metric) or similar female vocalists in bands like Stars and Arcade Fire, but rawer strength that builds up and adds to her music. The band played a fair share of songs off both their full-length X-Amounts and their more danceable EP History, performing all songs strongly and finished up with an encore of cymbal-throwing and buffoonery. Of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without a performance by OK GO of a scene from Les Misérables.

Overall, the evening was just what I needed to send me off on my way and remind me that the music scene in Montreal really isn’t that alienating. Besides, how can it be when the band dedicates a song to you and your journey abroad -- thanks Omar and Alex.

[Wrong Side of the Bed is currently on hiatus while Katie explores a new scene in Melbourne, Australia. Cheers mate!]