Jex Thoth – May 24th, 2014 – Media Club, Vancouver, BC

Jex Thoth & 88 Mile Trip – Live at The Media Club – May 24th, 2014 – Vancouver, BC

Jex Thoth’s Canadian debut was amazing. I was first attracted to the Madison-based doom metal band because of Jex’s powerful voice and their pagan lyricism, so it was great to see that they’d be coming up for Canadian shows.

Vancouver locals 88 Mile Trip opened the show with their take on stoner rock. The singer Dave has a great voice and vocal control, and the technical skill of the whole band is excellent. My favourite song was “Green Reaper” – it’s got a great groove to it. I’ve never been one to covet flashy instruments, but Darin’s bass shines like it’s made from an ammonite. Seriously, it’s gorgeous.

There was a long wait for the second set to start – more than half an hour passed before they started up the intro songs. It seemed longer, because the band had been set up for most of the time.

Candles were burning on the table with a beer and a shot glass sitting in front of them like offerings. I saw Jex move her way to the back of the crowd, and a woman helped her light up a bit of wood. The sharp, resiny smell of palo santo drifted across the crowd and the music began as she moved slowly forwards.

Jex treated the performance like a ritual trance that she and the audience shared in. She moved like one who is completely taken by the music. You could see her playing with the energy of the audience, re-focusing it, pulling it from one place and pushing it to another. Charismatic doesn’t even begin to describe her, she is mesmerizing.

The low, rug-covered stage at the Media Club made it easy for her to interact with the crowd, and she disappeared into it several times. At one point, she even danced with one of the guys on the side of the stage and gave him her beer to finish.

My favourite song was “Keep Your Weeds” off the Blood Moon Rise album. It gives her a chance to show off her voice and really stretch. “Son of Yule” off their first full-length album was a clear crowd favourite, with a harder metal base than their newer work.

I wish that I could say more about the band, but it’s extraordinarily difficult to watch anything but Jex while she’s on stage. They were all quite good, and I particularly liked the effect that the 60s-style keyboards added.

Jex Thoth’s next Canadian date will be with Agalloch at La Sala Rossa in Montreal on July 2nd. They’ll have dates in Ottawa and Toronto before heading back south for the end of the tour. If you get the chance to see them, take it – it’s a show, an experience, that is absolutely not to be missed.

(Previously published at Bucketlist Music Reviews)

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