Miserable weather accompanied Modey Lemon’s second visit to Ottawa; about two dozen people dragged themselves through the rain and gloom to experience some heavily bastardised high volume sci-fi blues.

The first band on the bill was Pollux, one of several bands (along with Castor, Burning Lodge and the Valiha Experimental Orchestra) who have swallowed up the influence of slo-mo stoner rock, Bob Log III, Acid Mothers Temple and Malagasay, then run it through a half-dozen effects pedals.

Their downtuned riffs (actually, an octave pedal was the culprit) and heavy fuzz made it evident that guitarist and singer Dave “Rave” Reford’s Electric Wizard T-shirt was no affectation. The music has cool, but after more than an hour it was time to hoof them of for the headliner. 

Modey Lemon first came to town as the opening act on a bill that included the Immortal Lee County Killers and Dan Melchior’s Broke Revue. They were loud. Brain-stunningly, eardrum-rippingly, run-for-the-exits-while-you-still can loud. I feel very certain that the only thing that  didn’t prevent the audience from stampeding for the exits was that Ottawa’s newly instituted no-smoking bylaw had already propelled them out onto the Dominion Tavern’s patio for a ciggy.

Only the stupid and non-smokers remained  to experience tinnitus ground zero, a performance, which still ranks as the loudest I’ve ever attended. The nearest competitors were shows by superheavy volume merchants Isis, High on Fire and, oddly enough, French garage-pop revivalists Les Sequelles. But they all have several decibels to go before they matched Modey Lemon’s literally painful volume.

Between guitarist/sound manipulator Philander Boyd’s atonal squalls and the drumming of Paul Quattrone, who manages to combine the noisier side of both Keith Moon and Jon Bonham, my ears were ringing for weeks.

For their show at Bumpers I came prepared with earplugs, but they proved unnecessary. Either I’m deafer, or they’re quieter.

The Lemon had also expanded their lineup: Jason Kirker, who produced their latest album 'Thunder and Lightning', has joined the band. Like Boyd, he ran his Telecaster through a keyboard ( a Moog, in his case). He also had a touch-sensitive bad that allowed him to drag out and distort his sound. Weird swoops and swirls accompanied the bands thumping riffs and jabbing leads. Quattrone’s drumming was as impressive as I’d recalled; he’s both a swift and exceptionally powerful player, whose kit has an unconventionally wide floor tom: 22 inches, compared to his bass drum’s 20-inch head. His steady rumble, combined with the two guitarists spacey riffing and energetic stage moves made for a mindblowing show.

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Commenting On: Bumpers Roadhouse, Ottawa, 29/10/2003 - Modey Lemon with Pollux

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