Magneta Lane stop at Queen’s

Toronto-based band rock Clark despite small crowd

Magneta Lane played a short 30-minute set at Clark last Wednesday.
Magneta Lane played a short 30-minute set at Clark last Wednesday.
Lukasz Rygielski

Concert Review: Magneta Lane @ Clark Hall Pub, Sept. 27

Before Magneta Lane’s show at Clark Hall Pub on Wednesday, singer and guitarist Lexi Valentine told me that she thinks playing in university towns is important because “they support bands like us.”

I hope she hasn’t changed her mind about that after the show. Although dismally underattended thanks to the Queen’s Entertainment Agency’s brief poster promotion and, perhaps also for being scheduled mid-week, it was still a fun and engaging show.

Magneta Lane first urged the small crowd of about 25 people to get out of the “beautiful chairs” and come closer to the stage. Then they began a half-hour set packed with intensity and passion despite its short length. Citing Hole, Sonic Youth and Nancy Sinatra as their main influences, Magneta Lane echoes the energetic presence of Sonic Youth, but still retains a kind of femininity: not a fragile, delicate kind, but a defiant one that stomps around in boots and reflects introspectively on what’s going on. Kicking off the set with “22,” Magneta Lane played a tight show, with songs from their latest album, Dancing with Daggers, and their first LP, The Constant Lover. Old favourites like “Medusa” and “Ugly Socialite” were played early, saving “Broken Plates” and their most well known single, “The Constant Lover,” until the end. Their live sound was grittier than on record, with plenty of amplification and distortion that sometimes drowned out Lexi’s smooth vocals. The true show-stealer, however, as Nadia King on drums. Placed right in the middle of the stage, her catchy beats and powerful solos commanded attention. With her shoes off and her face often hidden in a wild bed of curls, she provided the drive the band needed, and then some.

Although the miniscule audience was receptive, the lacklustre atmosphere remained on the verge of becoming exciting without ever actually crossing the line. Many heads bobbed and a few people sang along to songs like “The Constant Lover,” but not enough.

This was Magneta Lane’s fifth appearance in Kingston—their first gig took place at Elixir, which Valentine said was a “strange experience” because the audience was full of Halloween costumes and intoxicated students. They also graced The Grad Club multiple times with bands including Controller.Controller and Tokyo Police Club. Their last headlining show in Kingston took place last April, during exam season, at the Grad Club and drew more than 60 people. They kicked off their week-long university tour in Ottawa on Monday, and will stop at Bishop’s and Concordia along the way.

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