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Aids Wolf bloody eardrums for the last time

Posted by Aubrey Jax / May 13, 2012

Aids WolfFriday night on Dundas West, Aids Wolf devastated fans more than ever before, adding a death note to the night's brutal sonic chaos. It says something about the Toronto music scene when a famed Montreal band plays their final show not at Casa del Popolo, but at The Garrison.

I'm sad to say I've seen the mid-sized venue more packed, but turn out was high; Aids Wolf fans from Toronto and beyond had come to show their respects. Yet even as Brooklyn's Child Abuse blasted noise rock over mulleted heads in the front row just before midnight, the room had a subdued vibe. The band's decision to break up brought with it some weighty issues, which were on the minds of many people in the room.

Aids WolfFor almost a decade, DIY art-rock, noise-punks Aids Wolf have been inventing their own sound — "unknown wave" — touring, releasing albums, eps and 7"s, and touching countless lives along the way. Aids Wolf posters adorn the walls of noise houses and venues across the world, and when I think of Montreal, I think of the artwork of AW members Yannick Desranleau and Chloe Lum, Seripop. Lum wrote a piece, "On the End of an Era," about the band's break up which virtually broke my heart, touching on everything from the band's accidental success, to the trials they and their peers faced as experimenters making confrontational music for niche audiences and no money.

Aids WolfIf Lum, Desranleau and Alexander Moskos (also of Drainolith and Thames) wanted to go out with a bang, they succeeded. Aids Wolf gave the performance of a lifetime, especially Lum, who twisted and posed like a psychic priestess, touching hands with fans, smiling one moment and choking herself with her microphone cable the next, then removing her glasses to whip her hair in a frenzy while the industrial roar of the band behind her laid the room to waste. Lum moved into the pit in front of the stage while fans danced, shoved and pulled faces, taking to heart every minute of the noise diva's final stand.

Aids WolfLum's distorted-beyond-recognition vocals and Desranleau and Moskos's wall of noise and shrill dissonant melodies showed no mercy, and lacking ear plugs I eventually moved back, disoriented to the core by the noise yet still so enthralled that I only made it a couple of meters before turning to watch the stage. When the band finished we clapped as hard as our tired bodies could for an encore, and I was relieved when the trio reappeared.

Aids Wolf played one more song, their energy as high and the sound as loud as ever, and then they were gone. The pit dissolved as fast as it had appeared, and the funereal vibe returned to the bar. I could have watched the band tear down the Garrison all night — I guess that puts me in a similar place that AW found themselves in: I am a niche audience; the sound I love is love-starved.

Aids WolfFor all the criticism Lum received for her blog post, I hope she knows how important her words were. I think Dan Jones of Berlin magazine Electronic Beats summed the lesson of Aids Wolf's frustrated demise up better than I could in his farewell post: "...if you truly love underground music, support it with your feet, your time and your money. Volunteer at your local DIY space. Don't half-ass show promotion, whether you're playing it, running it or attending it. Treat the bands you book and play with like they matter. Art over money, always. RIP, AIDS Wolf."

Photos by Bruce Emberley



winston s. pumpernickle. / May 13, 2012 at 04:31 pm
... And Nothing of Value was Lost.
ryguy / May 13, 2012 at 09:19 pm
Quite literally the worst band name ever. Like ever
freaks / May 13, 2012 at 10:19 pm
What a bunch of freaks
neilson / May 14, 2012 at 01:38 am
your witless shouting, shambolic musicianship and undeserved bravado shall not be missed.

now piss-off back to your dirtbag poster shop in the land of passé, montreal.
kitkat replying to a comment from neilson / May 14, 2012 at 03:33 am
Well said!! Jet engines are more musical than these three twats. Good riddance, they give indie bands a bad name.
McRib / May 14, 2012 at 04:20 am
when you call your band AIDS Wolf, you must know deep down that your band will be shit.
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