Myles Herod October 13, 2012
It can’t be easy to summon a level of swollen grandiosity every time your mouth opens, but, then again, Montreal’s Casino dares to dream. With each song threaded by a pulsating bass line, high flying statements like “we can be victorious” and “surrender!” typified the band’s tendency for emulating Sam’s Town era Killers, or, more truthfully, simply ripping them off. Celebrating long, soaring solos that felt like a sunset drive down a long, barren highway, the band harnessed some skill, particularly with dueling harmonies and underlying swells from the shrouded synthesizer. Unfortunately, aside from their patchwork influences of Blink 182 and Springsteen-lite, their drumming was far too much – never nimble – merely berating when it should have whispered.
Basic stuff from the Montreal band – five guys on stage, playing their music well, but strangely faceless. If anything, their emotion conveyed a rehearsed ‘put-on’ aura. Nothing to the extent of embarrassing showmanship, but a subtler self-importance the proved more irking than truthful.
They came prepared, thanking the audience for a warm reception and even being a little playful at times, asking the Toronto crowd if there were any Montreal Canadiens fans present. Chatter soon subsided, though, as the set-list took over, invariably trying to steal our hearts away.
Sporting Xavier Dolan haircuts (a popular trim made famous by rising Francophone filmmaker of the same name), the v-necks were deep and tattoos o’ plenty, branding Casino as cookie cutter denizens of today’s ‘indie’ flavour. Perhaps something crazy like an eye patch would’ve helped infringe the monotony on display.
Casino are a hard band to swallow. From quiet, pseudo-confessionals by the lead singer, the inevitable bass drum kicks in, building a steady heartbeat into a harmonious chants. It’s been done before, with greater success. Yes, one should not beat on a band like this for trying, but it should be said that sometimes it’s better not to take yourself so seriously.
Photography by: Myles Herod