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Holy Fuck at Venue, Vancouver

Brian Borcherdt photo

Review and photos–Holy Fuck at Venue, Vancouver, Sept 24 2009

– review by Shawn Conner/photos by Jon Healy

For this listener, instrumental rock has always been a dubious prospect at best. Even the most inventive practitioners – Trans Am springs to mind – are unable to keep things interesting for the course of a full album. And who listens to Shadowy Men On a Shadowy Planet anymore (except maybe Kids in the Hall fans). Or even Man Or Astro-Man, as great as some of that band’s packaging was?

But at Venue in downtown Vancouver, with bassist Matt McQuaid and drummer Matt Shulz raising holy hell behind keyboardists Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh, Holy Fuck proved to be a thrilling, nigh-unstoppable beast.

Holy Fuck at Venue photo

Holy Fuck at Venue Sept 24 2009. Jon Healy photo

There were some vocals, it’s true, though these were more like monkey grunts or howls, with no recognizable lyrics. But most rock lyrics are stupid anyway, if you think about it.

Definite highlights of the set included “Super-Inuit” (or perhaps “The Pulse”), whatever their more propulsive Krautrock-type songs are, and “Lovely Allen”. The latter, built around a majestic keyboard riff worthy of Glittering Prize-era Simple Minds, brought the set to a frenzied end, with nearly everyone who was already packing the dancefloor pogoing in ecstasy. A chant of “Holy Fuck! Holy Fuck” followed, and the Toronto band came back out for a well-deserved encore.

Holy Fuck didn’t change my mind about instrumental rock. I still like lyrics no matter how inane they might be, and some singers can almost carry a tune. But they’ve got me wondering where I stashed my Man or Astro-Man CDs.

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