Montreal musician Spencer Krug is a busy fellow: Besides his membership in breakout band Wolf Parade and occasional performing duties with Frog Eyes, he has his own band, Sunset Rubdown, to fill out whatever empty minutes remain.

It was the latter project that brought him to Babylon as part of the Capital Idea Festival.

Another “side-project” began the evening. Graham Van Pelt’s main outfit is exuberant Montreal combo Think About Life, but his recent solo release was as Miracle Fortress, ‘Five Roses’, has garnered a surprising amount of attention on the independent music scene. His poppy tunes manage to incorporate both the Beach Boys’ dreamiest moments with some of My Bloody Valentine’s noisiest and crossbreed Cornelius with Saturday looks Good To Me.

After a couple of quieter solo tunes he invited his all-star band of Montreal indie rockers on stage to round out the sound: Sunset Rubdown drummer Jordan Robson-Cramer, Telefauna’s Adam Waito, and SS Cardiacs frontwoman Jessie Stein.

The quartet injected an extra level of energy into Van Pelt’s already bouncy tunes and produced a headlining-worthy set.

The same unfortunately couldn’t be said for Montag. The one man electronic-pop act is a fine stage performer, even when hemmed in by a goodly array of keyboards, percussion instruments and one violin to lend his set extra pizzaz. Unfortunately his singing voice is average, and his material is less than gripping. He’s a more amusing act to watch than listen to.

The same can’t be said for Sunset Rubdown’s nervy, emotional indie rock. On stage Krug and company - Mike Doerkson, ex-Pony Up member Camilla Wynne Ingr and the aforementioned Cramer – forsook some of the higher electronic pitches that snake through Sunset Rubdown’s recorded work for a more straight-ahead approach.

Indeed, the band sounded quite a bit like Wolf Parade with Krug singing every song. His muscular warble adds a melodramatic flair to many tunes.

The enthused audience greeted every song with cheers and applause. An imminent DJ night forced the band to squeeze its set down to about 45 minutes and scotched any hope of an encore, but the time was otherwise well-spent.

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Commenting On: Babylon, Ottawa, 21/6/2007 - Sunset Rubdown , Montag and Miracle Fortress

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