Review and Photo By Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
FULL PHOTO GALLERY HERE
From Aprils Vandala Magazine – READ MORE REVIEWS HERE
‘The Pack A.D.’ is a well oiled force of nature. This truly dynamic duo was established in Vancouver and has been blowing minds since 2006. From the moment Becky Black took the stage she had complete command of both her guitar and voice. She also unleashed a fearsome, piercing stare on the audience for most of the show, whilst also conveying an air of slight distraction or introversion, making her seem all the more mysterious and cool. Half the time Maya Miller acts like a zombie gangster whose hands are possessed by her drum sticks, the other half she is some sort of raging cavewoman without any thought of inhibitions. She is no benign counterpart. Toronto’s ‘Legendary Horseshoe Tavern’ was packed to the gills, giving everyone that lovely sardine can feel. A massive and full sound for a two piece band, The Pack’s chemistry on stage is palpable and their music is even less subdued live. Needless to say, they are quite well seasoned.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Maya Miller and Becky Black a few years ago just after they had released their breakthrough album ‘Unpersons’ (2011). It became clear that these two women, who where down to earth and even a little awkward offstage, had molded cartoonishly epic stage characters to go along with their music that had elevated their live show to a riotous form of raw entertainment.
The Pack A.D. just released their 5th full-length album ‘Do Not Engage’ on January 28th 2014 and they are still touring up a storm. The Pack’s new album contains songs with very different compositional influences compared to where they started, but that should be expected for a fifth album. Jim Diamond produced ‘Do Not Engage’ and the album was recorded in an old chicken plant in Detroit. Diamond has also worked with the White Stripes, Electric Six and was bassist of the Dirtbombs. ‘Do Not Engage’ incorporates more accessible, melodic and pop-rock styles than any of their previous releases. Perhaps this means that The Pack are gearing up to surmount the stadium sized concert setting.
They did of course play all of my old favorites except ‘All Damn Day Long’ (a cut from their first album which is very much straight up blues). They did however play ‘Deer’, ‘Cobre Matte’, ‘Sirens’, ‘Haunt You’ and some high-energy new songs off the new album. By far, my favorite new live songs are ‘Big Shot’ and ‘Battering Ram’.
Every time I see The Pack A.D they deliver a more honed version of their own particular brand of hard-hitting rock spiked with punky distortion. Their music consistently maintains a catchy instant classic quality because of their slightly poppy and melodious compositional style. Of course their ultimate allegiance to the blues is why I am drawn to them. When it comes to live shows this was a sweaty, adrenaline filled, mind warping and pretty much top-notch experience all around.