Colleen Green Parts and Labour, Toronto ON, April 28
Published Apr 29, 2013Colleen Green has made a name for herself by producing catchy, minimalist garage pop tunes with nothing more than a few power chords and a dated drum machine. There's an undeniable charm to Green's simplicity and her effortlessly sunny tunes serve as a welcome reminder that music doesn't always need to be imbued with profundity. In fact, as far as Green seems to be concerned, the very notion of a need for musical or lyrical depth is sometimes worthy of subtle, yet clever mockery.
Green's snarky take on lyrical insight is most distinctly evident on the track "Heavy Shit" from her latest release Sock It To Me, which probably contains her most utterly profound lyric: "heavy shit on my mind." Hidden within Green's minimalist approach, there certainly seems to be a few charmingly sarcastic jabs at the idea of taking music too seriously. I was thus very interested to see how this simple charm would translate into the realm of live performance at Toronto's Parts and Labour.
Green skipped out on the formality of an actual drummer, hitting the stage with only her guitar and her loyal drum machine, opening the set with "Worship You" from 2012's Milo Goes To Compton. Following the opening song, a bassist, introduced as her friend Larissa, joined Green on stage to complete the minimal ensemble. To fully engage a crowd with such a stripped-down formation can be a challenge, so Green just didn't even bother, instead, hiding behind Ray-Bans, blowing bubbles and appearing almost entirely disengaged. Yet, rather than apathetic or boring, this coolly unfastened stage presence only complemented Green's persona, making her seem all the more endearing. Even as she changed the tempo of her drum machine between songs it somehow seemed pretty cool.
Some of the highlights of the set included lovesick tracks "Only You" and "Every Boy Wants a Normal Girl" from Sock It To Me as well as Green's quasi-Ramones cover "I Wanna Be Degraded." To end the show Green shut off the drum machine and played a more sweetly intimate version of "You're So Cool." It felt like an appropriate way to end a short set. The musical aesthetic that Colleen Green has chosen could easily drift into the realm of boring novelty, but she evidently seems to have found a suitable formula.