Mesmerizing guitar work and smoldering vocal chemistry from Canadian duo
Santi Elijah Holley
830 E. Burnside St.
Portland, OR, 97214
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Glam and sleaze, desert grit and subway rats, scum-bags and fakers, hot messes and cold shoulders: welcome to the world of Whitehorse, a rock duo from Toronto.
Whitehorse's brazen sonic breadth encompasses psychedelic surf, arid border rock, lo-fi ingenuity and icy 80's sparseness. Luke Doucet's Gretsch White Falcon and impeccable tone, combined with Melissa McClelland's blazing vocals and badass P- Bass playing, have made the duo's sound is unmistakably, inventively 'Whitehorse.' The duo's songwriting is distinguished by its cinematic fiction, full of flawed characters, foiled plans and anti-fairytales that transform real life into sleek, stylized collages of neo-noir drama and high-gloss.
Whitehorse began as something of a folk duo, but quickly outgrew that box with their inventive instrumentation and resistance to expectation. The duo moved into 'space cowboy' twang territory on the debut apocalyptic full-length The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss, a fitting title lifted from a Wonder Woman comic. From there, Whitehorse expanded the intergalactic atmospherics with Leave No Bridge Unburned, a chase-scene-velocity acceleration into rock n' roll, with lethal riffs and near indecent vocal heat. Most recently, the duo rebuilt early electric blues for The Northern South Vol. 1, which showcased the duo's adventurousness and enviable guitar collection.
The duo's profile has grown exponentially with each release. The pair now sells out Massey Hall, Canada's most prestigious venue. Last year, Whitehorse won a Juno Award and performed on the award's live television broadcast to millions. Press highlights in the USA, include airtime on NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and coverage from Rolling Stone, the Wall Street Journal, Paste and more.
With the new single "Boys Like You," Whitehorse once again mixes things up, adding hip-hop producers and processed beats, and expanding their studio sound with samplers, vintage drum-machines and more. The result is a song that is an irresistible fusion of 90s guitar rock riffs and Brit pop-inspired swells with futuristic, cinematic production.
Santi Elijah Holley
"Sometimes artists give you a bit of a break from having to decode the zeros and ones of their works. With a name like Blind Bartimaeus—in homage both to the sight-cured roadside beggar from the Gospel of Mark, as well as to sight-hampered blues musicians of the pre-war South—you'd reasonably expect gospel-tinged songs of love and faith. Well, close. Gospel Songs of God & Death, released in December, travels road-tested gospel-folk, with only acoustic guitar and violin to guide it through its dark expanses. Vocalist/guitarist Santi Elijah Holley's whiskey-whispered singing, and ghostly harmonies from Liz Chibucos prove a potent one-two, especially in more upbeat tunes (in tempo, mind you; certainly not lyrically) like "As Cold and Lonesome As the Moon," in which Holley describes a woman with a "Xanax grin and nicotine teeth" over jaunty finger-picked blues. It's a lesson in contrasts, and an easygoing one to boot."
Ryan J. Prado
The Portland Mercury