Hello Moth Alix Goolden Hall, Victoria BC, September 16
Published Sep 17, 2016Hello Moth is the weirdest, most underrated, most original and unashamedly true-to-self performer on the Rifflandia lineup, hands down.
He made that clear when he played a near-empty house at the otherwise gorgeous Alix Goolden Hall, after the place had cleared after Shane Koyczan's show. He didn't seem to care; he played and sang like it was his last show on earth. It truly was a shame that so few witnessed his set. In a just world, festivalgoers would recognize his talent — imagine Leonard Cohen with Jeff Buckley's voice, collaborating with the Knife. Amazing.
Armed with only a tiny keyboard, a mic and a big loop-pedal, his multi-octave voice stood out above all. His vocal stylings teetered between theatrical, lyrically dense ministrations of love and loss, and then pure, blissfully long harmonies. The absolute highlight was a rendition of a 17th Century traditional, "By the Waters of Babylon," which almost moved people to tears with its intricately woven, looped harmonies, over which he delivered a powerful, belting refrain. It felt like a secret treat to watch in the old church space.
Hello Moth juxtaposed his vulnerable moments with pure techno pop, a la the likes of his influences Purity Ring and Grimes. Hello Moth was far more interesting than those artists though, partly because of his fantastically genuine vibe and zero pretence. It was defences down, just one person doing his odd, personal, vulnerable thing on stage: artful, honest, real.