A few songs into Cold Specks‘ set at The Great Hall, singer Al Spx announced that since they had trouble coming up with a setlist, the band decided to just play the songs from the album in order. That’s as good a choice as any. If the songs were good enough to sequence in that order, why wouldn’t they work live in the same configuration? And seeing as how said album has been nominated for the Polaris Prize, it would seem that the songs do work in that order.
In addition to the songs from their debut album, Spx and crew added a few other numbers, including an acapella version of the theme from Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and a fantastic set ending cover of Swans’ “Reeling The Liars In,” with Spx’s vocals making the mock gospel tones of the song even more explicit. Upon hearing her sing lines about taking all of the liars and “removing their skin” and “burning them in a pile,” the band’s somewhat jokingly self-described “doom soul” tag made sense. Also, hearing her powerful voice belting out Michael Gira’s lyrics made them seem perhaps even more ironic and hilarious. These lyrics are supposed to be funny, aren’t they? I find them funny, anyways. Swans are a comedy troupe, right?
In addition to the powerful vocals of Spx, the band sounded great, offering up tasteful accompaniment that really filled the room. The saxophone was especially appreciated. Despite having a talented backing band though, the highlights of the show may have been the moments when Spx sang unaccompanied, especially when she stepped away from the mic and took advantage of the acoustics in the Great Hall. Pretty impressive.