The whole time I drove home from the Trust show, I kept looking in the rearview expecting to see cops trying to get me to pull over. In fact, I don’t think the strobing reds and blues have stopped in my brain since the show ended, even two days later. Red and blue and red and blue and red and blue and occasionally some purple or green – that pretty much sums up a soundless experience from the back of Trust’s sold out Barboza gig Monday. But up close and personal, with the speakers a couple milliwatts away from blowing, and with a hundred other rave kids piled on top of you jumping and dancing in unison to the lurching beat, Trust is a rapturous live experience. Together with Montreal experimental pop act Mozart’s Sister, Trust gave us quite a way to kick off the week.
Mozart’s Sister is the solo project of Caila Thompson-Hannant. After working with an array of indie pop acts including Asthmatic Kitty’s Shapes and Sizes and Montreal band Miracle Fortress, Caila decided to take the driver’s seat for her own project in 2011. Her first studio offering came with four song EP HELLO, out last year. Thompson-Hannant’s project tends towards the ghostly, vocally driven synth pop of Grimes. On stage as a two piece and armed with samplers, synthesizers, and vocal echo and reverb for days, Mozart’s Sister got the crowd moving their feet with an eclectic pop mixture, none of which went ill-received among the audience. Ending with HELLO single “Don’t Leave It To Me“, Caila waved goodbye and left the stage ready for complete obliteration.
Last time we saw Trust live, a couple months after the release of his first full length TRST in 2012, the only light on stage was a red/blue strobe directly underneath Alfons’ microphone and he spent the entirety of the set jumping up and down, sticking to the shadows, like a shuttering ghost on the wall. At one point he even left the stage and sung a track crouched in the corner. Tonight, our Trust experience could not be further from that seemingly distant past. While the colors of choice didn’t change, light illuminated the stage and danced off of Alfons and his band and made for a visual wonder to accompany the sonic waylay of his music.
While Trust is a one-man show in the studio, Alfons showcased his excellent new record Joyland as a trio, with some live help on the drums and synthesizers. But eyes in the crowd rarely left Alfons, whose highly dynamic stage persona and nonstop dance motivation kept the crowd entranced. Alfons brought the energy to an early high point with the crowd favorite from his new record, “Capitol“. The gothic overlays don’t do too much to hide the brilliant pop song underneath, and while it wasn’t sugary enough to discourage any of the dark mascara and leather jackets, it had the room in a lucid frenzy. Nearly all of Trust’s new record made its way into the set. The garage vibes of “Lost Souls” lit the floor on fire, while “Rescue, Mister” and “Four Gut” found their way laced in between TRST classics seamlessly.
More than anything else, seeing Trust tonight proved the lasting worth and impact of his new record Joyland. While TRST gained easy acclaim for its pulsing, dirge-laden gothic dance vibes, Joyland is a record that really puts Alfons on his own two feet, rather than the shoulders of his influences. The crowd felt it, too – as Alfons lost himself in every song on stage, the crowd let go of their control with ease. It was a beautifully communal dance session. Classics like “Shoom” and “Sulk” came alive more than ever with Alfons’ trio – the live drums definitely haven’t hurt his presence in the slightest. When Trust returned to the stage for an encore, the obvious choice of “Bulbform” seemed nearly arbitrary in the wake of its follow up, the brutal rave throw-down of “Peer Pressure”, from Joyland. The days of comparison to Crystal Castles and other similarities seemed like a lifetime away as the crowd all lost it to a song that could only be a product of Robert Alfons. Trust has found its unique place on the indie dance scene, and it is a beautiful red and blue blur.