Review and photos – Dilly Dally at the Media Club, Vancouver, Oct. 27 2015
– review by Ria Nevada/photos by Audrey Alexandrescu
Their sing-songy moniker might lead you to believe that they’re the type of folks that skip along the sunny side of the street, dot their i’s with delicate hearts, and spend spring days weaving in and out of farmer’s markets – but this would be a terribly erroneous preconception. Toronto garage band Dilly Dally doesn’t softly dawdle onto the stage and invite you to a pleasant finger-snapping set; this well-oiled machine is comprised of four fervent, moving parts creating a deluge of gruff and furious rock ‘n’ roll.
Frontwoman Katie Monks, lead guitarist Liz Ball, bassist Jimmy Tony and drummer Benjamin Reinhartz set up on the Media Club’s stage sporting some variation of bedhead, and Monks barely opened her sleepy squinting eyes before bellowing out the opening screeches of their punk-grunge symphonies, including their breakout hit “Desire”. Glowing reviews have been circulating from Stereogum, NPR, and NME for this novice troop since the release of their debut LP Sore earlier this month, and an impressive showcase at CMJ further catapulted their success in indie circles. But all we really needed at the show was the first 45 seconds of Monks’ rattling, scratchy growls, Ball’s effortless and articulate guitar riffs and the rhythmic scaffolding of Reinhartz and Tony to know that we were witnessing a group of rare, unbridled talent.
The band pretty much played Sore in its entirety, and admitted “That’s all we’ve got” as the half-full dancefloor called for more. The ridiculous mythology behind the record (which involves the group travelling to the future to battle a purple monster – an all-around dickhead – in a post-apocalyptic Toronto covered in blood, guts, pizza and ice cream) is actually a pretty appropriate metaphor for Dilly Dally’s position in our current music landscape.
Monks, who is the sister of Tokyo Police Club‘s Dave Monks) and Ball’s alarmingly young faces disguise a sound that feels like it had been crafted over decades in the midst of DIY’s golden age. It would be a disservice to describe their music and presence as a reappropriation of ’90s grunge – they aren’t a faint semblance of this heyday. Based on sound alone (and Monks’ vintage Reebok pumps), they could fool the most devoted garage-punk loyalists into thinking they shared club and festival stages with the Melvins, Nirvana and Sleater-Kinney 30 years back in time. They look and sound like they’ve been plucked from a now distant era, brought to us to usurp millennial manic pixie dream girl fantasies with no-bullshit, intimidating as hell bravado.
A warning – all this energy doesn’t translate on Sore. The production skims over the grit, the poetry, the magic that this band possesses. Monks and Ball have a captivating creative partnership that I believe will be imitated and praised decades from now. What these high school friends create on stage is an ironic nod and kick in the shin to syrupy, melodic alternative rock and over-processed electronic music, all wrapped in a fuck-all attitude, self-investigating (sometimes self- deprecating) outbursts amidst a cloud of Rat pedal-fueled distortion.