Monday, May 16, 2022

Slow Down Molasses Live @ Are You Listening? Reading Festival

It’s the first weekend of the month and the Thames Valley is deadly calm, but the streets of Reading are already packed because Are You Listening? Festival 2022 is about to kick off. The hype is high this year since AYLFest hosts talented folk artists such as Darcey Hope, and Alfie Templeman, and international musicians like Animal House and Slow Down Molasses. This is the first time in six years since the British grassroots music scene has listened to the thrilling voice of Tyson McShaneLevi Soulodre’s hefty guitars, Chris Morin’s underrated bass turns, and Jordan Kurtz’s pounding drums. 

Slow Down Molasses are currently touring their fourth studio album ‘Minor Deaths’ released last October. At first, dubbed The Broken Social Scene of the Prairies, not only the Canadian four-piece has been working hard to find a fitting name but also to sharpen their tone and trespass over genre lines.

“First foreign band in a while, just got here at Rising Sun Arts Centre from Canada on a 24-hour flight. Get ready for Slow Down Molasses,” calls out the announcer to warm up the Rising Sun Arts Centre’s stage. ‘I Need Darkness’ first biting chords squeeze the tight walls of the room and the piled up crowd edge nearer almost like it’s craving more volume from the speakers. The acoustic couldn’t be more rugged to match the energy sent out by the Saskatoon veterans. Slow Down Molasses’ messy endless rock medleys gather any kind of DIY music affectionate in Reading: an extremely tall motorhead with a black Stetson hat, a frisky couple of rock-and-rollers, and a group of chilled and casual girls. 

Their chemistry and sound stand out from indie rock standards. Slow Down Molasses’ anxious pop mixture places the band in a distorted shoegaze landscape with a strong post-punk influence well represented by tracks like ‘New Release’ and ‘Street Haunting’. Slow Down Molasses do love throwing their instruments in the air as much as enhancing lo-fi vocals with punk rock outputs like in ‘Some Fine Action’ and ‘Moon Queen’. They are redefining what noise means within the context of pop music for sure, and they do so by sticking to black and white striped t-shirts and grey skinny jeans as a tribute to Sid Vicious and Billie Joe Armstrong.  

Thirty minutes have already passed, and Slow Down Molasses closes the show with ‘New Release’. Each member looked confident for the entire live gig, and after all that great noise I barely hear “it’s been a while” coming out of McShane’s mouth. Before leaving the stage McShane and Morin celebrated the start of ‘Minor Deaths’ tour returning the cheerful and solid pats on the shoulder by the locals and the motorhead man with a black Stetson hat. Now that the band is ready to blow another flat red roof off, the Thames Valley will silently wait for Are You Listening? Festival 2023 to begin; hopefully Reading will bang its head to Slow Down Molasses’ bangers soon. 

Martina Bovetta

Image: Martina Bovetta

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