Gig Review: Top Men

August 26th 2016 at Seven Lounge on Broadway

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Timing could not be better for synthesizer-based bands since the release and success of Stranger Things and its fantastic all-synth music based on John Carpenter’s thrilling soundtracks..

That being said, an all-keyboard band is hard to pull off, live. Luckily, Nanaimo’s Top Men deliver an exceptionally engrossing live show.

There are no bands in recent memory that put their lighting technician on stage with them – but that is precisely what occurred with illumination wizard, Adam Barron, adding another texture of mood to the stage.

Utilizing absurdly inexpensive but effective (and home made) stage lighting, the band would kick into high gear often and the lights would follow. Simple lights percolating along with the arpeggios … then blinding, pulsating big lights along with the powerful crescendos. Very effective.

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Dynamics, dancing  and dazzling visuals effectively bundled in a very good presentation.

While the lighting drew the audience in, the musicianship was top notch and the performance of the band was greater than the sum of all parts.

Good music played well by good musicians. The audience was truly captivated.

Drummer Paul Carpenter had no easy task keeping the groove, pulse and percussion dynamics tight among the electronics,  but he does so with passionate delivery and a big sound from a modest drum kit.

Also very smart and thoroughly enjoyable is how Chris Thompson, Brendan Holm and Liam Gibson share synth-bass, synth-lead and chording duties which keeps the sound fresh and changing. Brendan adds bass guitar to many tracks, adding an additional tonal range.

Classic-style vocoder vocals supplied a clear and present melodic narrative that was unusual and compelling.

They know what they are doing, are young and likely going far.

See them live  because they are one live band worth seeing, hearing and throwing shapes to while swaying, dancing and letting yourself become immersed.

Top Men are a very good band. Follow them on social media and catch them live.

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