It was their very first Canadian show.
With a crowd crammed to the back walls of Casa Del Popolo, no elbow space, Grails started off slow, chilling strands of eerie sound. Ominous in the darkness, the lights came up and melted in with the music, glittering across the twelve-string acoustic and buffet of peddles.
Grails then came on strong.
If you’ve ever tripped balls, you can make the comparison here. Grails is like a hit of good acid. Starting out, you feel the potential thrill before plunging face first into an experience of wild and worming brain conduits.
Making dope beats with shakers mid-song, and whirling through the crowd’s heads with solid pieces of sound, they held everyone captivated with their custom-sounding epic instrumentals. Nobody got distracted. Heads were turning to check out the gear and where the sounds were coming from; like musical alchemists, they tinkered with the levels of noise.
Grails paints enigmatic audio pictures of crows and ghosts, grey fields of mist and heavy air. Although they had to stop and tune a few times, it only kept audiences anxious for them to start the trip back up again.
At the end, when they wound down into soft breakdowns, everyone’s sweating and nodding with impressed appreciation at each other; it was that closeness you feel when you’ve just endured a fourteen hour mind fuck with a couple other people you didn’t know as well before.
But nobody was leaving the room. The crowd, we all stood there until Grails came back to their buzzing instruments they’d left on the stage and they finished us off good.
Afterwards, I was outside smoking a post-show bowl and Grails came outside for cigarettes. They seemed pretty stoked to finally have played a gig here and their attitudes were as pleasant and natural as their music was far out.
Definitely a live show worth getting involved in. And I say “getting involved in,” because their music is totally interactive, drawing you in and playing upon the pictures just waiting to be drawn into shapes in your head, only possible with good fucking music.
Grails are makers of this very music.