Published Jul 20, 2016Prolific indie rockers Julie Doiron (Eric's Trip, Wooden Stars, Shotgun and Jaybird), C.L. McLaughlin (The National Shield), and Jon McKiel built Maritimes super group Weird Lines on a foundation of collaboration. Their current tour, which finds the troupe bringing their eponymous full-length debut throughout New Brunswick and Ontario, with a stop in Montreal, is similarly defined by a preference for pooled resources. Last night (July 19), that meant the Monarch Tavern was dealt a dynamic lineup of performances that saw members logging duties in each others' sets.
Weird Lines bassist Jon McKiel kicked the night off with help from members of Vancouver supporting act Adrian Teacher and the Subs. Together with Robbie Nall on bass and Teacher behind the drums, McKiel used the opening slot as an opportunity to workshop new material, leading the trio through a set that favoured the dreamy riff-rock he's known for but also, notably, a track that traded out his chiming, knotty guitar passages for a chilled out groove suite that floated across the room on duelling bass riffs.
Teacher and the Subs's own set was a more polished rock show. Playing cuts from May's Terminal City, Teacher's punchy observations about Vancouver gentrification stuck their landing perfectly in downtown Toronto, the crowd lifting Teacher above their heads like the champion of the underclass. Armed with a wireless guitar, he brought his message out to the streets — literally; he went outside — during "I Feel the Same." They passed up a good opportunity to have Doiron re-hash her guest duties on last year's Sorta Hafta EP, but Terminal City calls for a higher energy, and we'd get our fix later anyway.
Working more or less backwards through their new LP, Weird Lines lived up to their name, distilling blurry beach ballads and dark, jagged, sax-assisted chanteys into a set of multi-directional burners, Doiron and McLaughlin trading vocal duties throughout. When they reached the final freak-out seconds of album opener/set closer "Fade in my Heart" and McLaughlin had Doiron arch so he could slide his guitar across her back before letting it crash to the ground, the crowd got an apt metaphor for everything at play last night: When outstanding musicians in their own right lend themselves to the creative will of others, magical things can happen.