“You got it,” a guy in a backwards hat from the opening band yells out continuously during July Talk’s performance at the Beat Kitchen. He’s drunk and perhaps a little envious but in this case a drunk sad boy’s sarcastic line couldn’t be more appropriate: July Talk just has it.
Canadian indie rock group July Talk is lead by singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay, two voices that couldn’t be more disparate but that clash together beautifully like a light cold Stella and a bacon cheeseburger with the works. Dreimanis’s entire face shifts as he grunts out a classic but unique Tom Waits style growl that is quickly juxtaposed with Fay’s calm sweet cooing. One thing these singers share is the rawness of their sound; Fay’s voice is young and untampered with unlike many high pitched lady singers these modern technological days.
The show starts with Fay in the crowd looking up at Dreimanis open “I ain’t asking for your love I’m just asking what your love is gonna take.” She takes the stage and instantly adds the feminine element, playfully removing a large scrunchy and suggestively placing it over her mic. The two singers clearly hold a strong understanding of the difference between just playing live and performing. They craft a simultaneously neat and messy hour of organized fun that pauses only when the group takes down a couple shots of whiskey or when Fay hugs a few on-the-brink-of-crying females in the crowd.
Beauty meets the Beast meets Johnny meets June in a funky fairytale where the girl wears tight leather pants and still manages to come off sweet.
Although it’s easy to concentrate on the voices within July Talk as the group’s main event, the work of guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton and drummer Danny Miles should not be sidestepped. The songs are tight and rhythmic and the music feels intricately simple and smooth. In an interview with NPR, Fay comments that the band doesn’t want the performance aspect to be their main selling point: “First and foremost I think the five of us just want to make rock and roll music.”
In the end the band’s biggest fault here is they sound almost too good live and exactly like they do on their record. Although the music is good and there isn’t one song that falls out of context of this well practiced machine, the visual element of pegging these two voices together and watching them roll around and scratch at each other is what really sells. July Talk provides its audience a complete and nicely packaged image of a band and makes it easy for listeners to like them. We get the concept without looking for it. Beauty meets the Beast meets Johnny meets June in a funky fairytale where the girl wears tight leather pants and still manages to come off sweet.
July Talk gives it to us straight like the whiskey they drink on stage. You can tell they’re a young band cause they look like they’re having genuine fun. The crowd at the Beat Kitchen is weak but I’m convinced if they were just two steps drunker it would’ve been a wild show. July Talk certainly doesn’t fail to hand over their side of the bargain.
After the show I manage to have a chat with Dreimanis. This is what he says.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you guys on this last tour?
Probably our night off in New Orleans. We all bought 40s of Miller Time or some shit in a gas station and you can take them into the bars there. I’ve been really into this bounce artist named Big Freedia lately, she’s from New Orleans and I’ve been watching all this shit on her and learning about her and we showed up and she happened to be playing that night. So we all bought 40s and tall boys and listened to some bounce music it was amazing. New Orleans in general, just the lack of rules, the anarchy of it, it totally floored me. I can’t wait to go to New Orleans again and re-experience it.
What’s up between you and Leah? What’s the relationship there?
Leah obviously is a really important person to me. I think that artistically we’ve gotten along really well. I think that there’s something that’s a palpable chemistry that we feel together and we try to discuss it as little as possible so that we don’t damage what’s kind of naive about it. We just try to leave it be the way it is, not over discuss it, and just kind of let it happen the way it is, as simple as possible. There’s no predicting what can happen between us because we don’t even really understand it ourselves.
What can fans expect from July Talk in the future?
Our records gonna come out down here in the states really soon, in early to mid summer. So for us, I mean we’ve toured so much in Canada and we haven’t really had a chance to come across very often so we’re just really excited to spend most of the year touring down here, put up some new shit, put up some new videos and a few new songs and basically just introduce ourselves to the states. There’s so many cities down here it’s daunting so it’s really important to us to just take the time to do it.
Alexa Carrasco is a semi-recent college graduate and a full-time freelance everything. Alexa enjoys writing obscure poetry, making inaccessible experimental short films, and barreling through crowds at live shows.