Montreal rockers Tricky Woo went through a number of stylistic permutations, from garage rock to Detroit-style rama-lama to psychedelic blues, prior to their breakup. Since they reformed, with a tough new rhythm section and the return of guitarist Adrian Popovich, they have become leaner and faster, and now rock harder than any previous incarnation.

The opening act, Ottawa’s Mighty Eagle Band, have undergone a few lineup changes as well, getting a tough-sounding bassist and a new organist. With a fabulously gravelly singer and a Kyuss-loving guitarist, the band sounds like the marijuana-basted offspring of Deep Purple.

Power trio Rasputin, by comparison, sound like Motorhead fans with a funk bass and a vocalist who sounds like a graduate of the Saint Vitus school of the singing arts.

Tricky Woo took the stage and ripped through their set with almost no interruption between songs, apart from some very brief breaks to tune and work the crowd. “I … I need to feel the audience!” declared singer guitarist Andrew Dickson. “Give this man cuddles!” ordered Popovich, before the band launched into their next tune.

This performance stood out for a few reasons, and not just because of Dickson’s bare-chested turn in a fringed leather jacket or the sheer amount of hair being waved about. Popovich and Dickson have achieved a rare degree of guitar interplay. When I last saw Tricky Woo perform, post-reformation at Ottawa's the Dom, Dickson and Popovich’s guitar lines sizzled but neither man seemed to work off the other, and there was a jammy feel to some of their playing. This time around, the twosome was locked in tight and there was no flab, either on the tunes from the band’s latest work, 'First Blush', or earlier stuff, like 'Sad-Eyed Woman' and 'Lady of the Wind' off 'Sometimes I Cry' and 'Easy' from 'The Enemy Is Real'.

The audience pulled them back for two encores; it was a first rate demonstration of rock power.

















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