Last Saturday I spent another memorable evening hosted at The Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, QC. On the bill was a double-header featuring Ottawa’s Pony Girl and Montreal’s Paper Beat Scissors. Without further ado, let’s get into what ended up being two beautiful sets of music.
Pony Girl was the first band to take the stage, and they blew me away from the very first note. I would put the general label of indie rock on Pony Girl, but that does not come anywhere near covering the diversity found in their music. They drew on everything from rock to folk, jazz, pop, and everything in between with exceptional precision and skill. They played effortlessly through complex songs featuring irregular timing without missing a beat. One section would quickly evolve into another related but new passage, carrying the audience through a seamless musical story focused around dynamic harmonized vocal melodies. All of these elements were boosted further by the sheer talent and presence of each band member. I felt like I could tune into any voice and be immediately rewarded.
Pony Girl’s immediately rewarding set was followed by one of a largely different nature. Paper Beat Scissors took the high energy down a touch to a brand of indie folk-rock relying on patiently building songs. Led by guitarist/vocalist Tim Crabtree, the band would set up an initial theme, then slowly escalate the power and drama inherent in their raw emotional style. Paper Beat Scissors would alternate between songs featuring the full four-piece band to songs featuring Crabtree exclusively, and in both cases I found myself being gradually pulled into the solemn atmosphere as each song would reach its climax. Having never heard Paper Beat Scissors before that evening, I could only make out brief instances of poetic lyricism, but they were able to communicate the feeling in each piece merely with melody and accompaniment.
This was an all-around great performance from both Pony Girl and Paper Beat Scissors, and I highly recommend seeing them if you have the chance.