Ubiquitous Synergy Seekers brought the noise to an over 600 strong Algonquin Commons Theatre crowd on Oct. 22, kicking off the first stop on their 10-year anniversary Bonavista Tour.
The Canadian alt-rock and hip-hop duo-vocalist/guitarist Ashley “Ash” Buchholz and turntablist/hype man Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons-are a blended milkshake of drum and bass beats, a healthy serving of grunge-like guitar riffs, and fresh-chopped two-step rhythms.
A decade into their career and USS seems to have perfected their live show recipe.
One thing USS seems to understand very well is the importance of a band opening act, or in this case: opening acts.
Joining the band as opening acts for most of the tour was Manchester battle-rap legend SHOTTY HORROH, and the dapper indie band The Elwins.
First on stage was Shotty Horroh, fresh off the release of his newest album Salt of the Earth Oct. 12. Obviously used to winning over hostile Mancunian battle-rap crowds, Horroh had the crowd warmed and ready to go before he had finished his second song.
While Shotty Horroh no doubt appealed to the band’s hip-hop fanbase, The Elwins were there for the fan that enjoys USS’s alt-indie side.
Not only are the Keswick, Ontario natives a group of talented and well-dressed hipsters, they are also an incredibly versatile band. There are very few bands where the lead guitarist has vocal chops on par with the lead singer, and where the conquistador-bearded keyboardist can shred multiple guitar solos.
Finally, USS took the stage to Flux Pavillion’s International Anthem like a pair of tag team wrestlers, a metaphor that only grew stronger when Parsons started dropping elbows on his own turntable.
If there is one way to describe a live USS show it’s this: high energy. Parsons and Buchholz refused to stand still during their performance dance, darting around the stage like they are trying to dodge a sniper in the upper rafters.
The band delved into their entire repertoire of music for the show, playing hits from all of their albums, as well as from their original EP Welding the C:/.
Songs like Shipwreck, Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole, and Stationary Robbery went off like gangbusters with a crowd that seemed to know all the words to whatever song the band played next.
When Buchholz slowed things down for an acoustic 2 15/16-Gimme Sympathy mash-up the crowd became the “campfire afterparty” that he likes to describe their live-shows as so much.
What the audience really came to see, however-like any fan arriving at their favourite band’s new tour- was new music, and USS did not disappoint.
Not only did USS play their newest single Medicine, which dropped May 22, the band also debuted a brand new single called Big Life, performed for the first time in front of an audience at the ACT. Fortunately, since the song was previously unheard, the band was kind enough to teach the crowd the chorus first, to make sure everyone can sing along.
Fortunately, fans can expect more from the band in the near future according to Buchholz.
“We’re definitely looking to do another album,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of new music we’re working on.”
The band’s next stop on the tour is the AleHouse in Kingston, Ont. Oct. 24, and then on to St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, Mich. on the 25, and the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls, NY and runs all the way until the final stop at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alta. on Nov. 16.
Check out the Times interview with Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons who sat down to talk about the band and the new tour earlier this month.