There’s already a slither of the iconic about Ought as they leave the stage of the Deaf Institute. Having pummelled through the final song of the set, album-closer ‘Gemini’, frontman Tim Darcy finally releases the transfixion he’s held over the crowd for the last hour.
From the first bars of opener ‘Pleasant Heart’, Ought deliver an unerring set that sees them pull and push the boundaries and limitations of their punky, angular sound. While on record the Montreal band often use quietness and repetition to great effect, live they tend to charge through their set with filled-out songs and a speedy, effective momentum. The laissez-faire musing of ‘More Than Other Day’ is still present but Darcy goes further into his Jekyll and Hyde routine with a cynical, effete David Byrne-ish talking voice battling a furious, seething roar. It’s the vocalist’s energy that makes Ought such a frightening prospect, even before the end of the very first song he’s already broken the strings on two now useless guitars. From the defiant shouts of “We won’t take it anymore”, into the disgusted repetitions of “How’s the family?”, “Beautiful Weather today” Darcy injects the venom into tightly written songs that keep the crowd as hyperactive as it does angry.
Dripping with cynicism, encore ‘New Calm Pt.II’ starts with Darcy saying ‘Oh, I love this one!’ and features a lyric that begs for the sort of adoration that Ought deserve: “Now everybody put your arms in the air, that’s a generally accepted sign for not having a care”.
What’s really striking about Ought, though, is the sheer timelessness of it all. Ought could have been hanging out with The Velvet Underground. Ought could have lived next door to Joy Division. Ought could be the cousins of the guys in Liars. Or Bloc Party, or Pavement or Sonic Youth. But more than “Ought could be connected to legends” – on the evidence of this one performance and a very young career Ought could just be legends.
Photos: Leah Henson