words & photos by Benjamin Lozovsky
Equally measured and zealous, Suuns' 2010 debut album Zeros QC denoted a band with maturity greater than its experience might dictate. During the Canadian group's squawking gallop of a performance at Brooklyn's Rock Shop, the first of three New York shows this week, the members of Suuns managed to present the cerebral weight of their music while still acting their age.
"Our live show is very different than the album," singer/guitarist Ben Shemie acknowledged after coming off stage. "We play short sets so we can give it our all every song."
Full of thrash, immediacy, and spastic explosiveness, Suuns did play each song like it might be the last. It was a peak behind the insecure youthful curtain of a band that, on record, exude a ripened confidence in patiently stretching out the progression of its musical ideas. Wavering from the seething, drone-like minimalism of Zeroes, Suuns often acted out a gaudy type of aggression throughout the set. It wasn't necessarily in tune with the band's direction, a cunning fusion of kraut, post-punk, stoner rock, and disco funk tempered with a muted emotional disquiet - but it still exemplified the band's deft incorporation of so many well-worn identities as a distinctive unifying force.
Raging with abandon or not, Suuns is ultimately an experiment in using patience and development as an excitable, unpredictable factor. During the motorik jam "Sweet Nothing," the trembling of a prolonged oscillating synth wave was the launching pad for anything, a cloud of ambiguity through a seemingly simplistic directness. That final number of the evening eventually landed in a powerful turbine of rising anxiety and a caterwauling noise solo, driven, like most of Suuns' songs, by a steadfast yet understated propulsive beat. Despite the song's inherent repetitiveness and danceable allure, it still always maintained an alluring unease. Even in playing like there's no tomorrow, Suuns found an appealing place to settle.
Milagres and Takka Takka (who next open for Trail of Dead at Littlefield) supported Suuns at Rock Shop on 1/25. Suuns played Shea Stadium last night (1/26) and will play NYC one last time tonight (1/27) at Mercury Lounge. Tickets for the early show with Julianna Barwick are still available.
More pictures from Rock Shop are below.