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Melissa Auf Der Maur & Blinker The Star
Babylon Club, Ottawa

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Date: Tuesday October 28, 2003

Jordan Zadorozny and his outfit Blinker The Star started things off with some powerful riff-rock which wowed the crowd from the first chords, drawing the scattered throng towards the stage. Zadorozny, bouncing and strutting like a Muppets-inspired Rick Moranis playing Black Sabbath riffs, delivered some strong Grohl-like vocals between psychedelic 70's inspired guitar noodling and extended solos, playing new material before breaking into a heavy version of the single Below The Sliding Doors, from 1999's August Everywhere. Unfortunately the impact of the initial heaviness was somewhat diluted by the set which digressed into some songs notable more for math-rock time-signature changes and hypnotic repetition. Perhaps a little reworking of the set order would have helped build the set to a climax, when in fact the opposite seemed to occur. Melissa Auf Der Maur has had a few high-profile gigs in the past few years, as bassist for Hole and then for Smashing Pumpkins. During a break after the Pumpkins' demise she also fronted a Black Sabbath cover band "Hand of Doom" to keep up her vocal chops and work on her front-man abilities - check out their live album available now. Auf Der Maur's bass skills are undeniable, her left hand working the neck like a deft massage therapist while her right fingers pluck away at the strings like an angelic harpist. Angelic could hardly describe her vocals however, as they ran the gamut from the spoken words of a harsh school matron to howling she could have learned from Courtney Love herself. All eyes were on local hero Steve Durand, a former bandmate of Auf Der Maur in Tinker many years ago, he has now returned to the fold to thrash out guitar riffs in his snaky, skeletal way, hiding beneath a black baseball cap like Rick Nielsen's anemic younger brother.

MADM (as they appear to be called based on the inscriptions on the kick drum and road cases) unleashed a set even more riff-heavy than Blinker, Auf Der Maur apparently having picked up a few classic-rock pointers from Billy Corgan. All in all Melissa and band delivered a solid set and assuming much of the material is on her forthcoming album, it is sure to rock. Time will tell if this will end up being one of those legendary "I saw her in a little bar in Ottawa and only 100 people were there" shows.

Steve Donnelly Email WWW


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