Concert Review: Gustaf, April 5, The Garrison


After nearly two years of Toronto’s live music options ranging from nothing to not much, it really is a joy to again have a wealth of options to choose from, even if we do still have the spectre of Covid hanging over our heads at these shows. This week alone has seen or will see concerts from the likes of Low, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Efterklang, Viagra Boys, Sampa The Great, We Were Promised Jetpacks, and Pillow Queens, just to name a few.

But I’m not here to talk about any of them. No, I’m here to tell you about Gustaf.

The New York band was in town for a show at The Garrison in support of their debut album Audio Drag for Ego Slobs (out now on Royal Mountain Records) and put on a fantastic performance showcasing their fiery art punk sound – a sound that brings to mind the likes of Bush Tetras, ESG, and The Slits.

Singer Lydia Gammill is eminently watchable as she roams the stage playing the role of a person perpetually on the brink of absolutely losing it. Her stage banter and persona also reminded me a bit of Pere Ubu’s David Thomas at times. Not to be outdone, vocalist/percussionist Tarra Thiessen was also a lot of fun as she interacted with the crowd and added an extra level of weird to the proceedings – I think I spotted a rubber chicken in her arsenal of instruments?

All in all, this was an incredibly fun show with highlights such as “Book” and “Best Behavior” demonstrating what the band is capable of in a live setting. To paraphrase one of their own songs, Gustaf are good, they’re very, very good.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts