March 7, 2006 – Funhouse – Seattle, WA
Before their show on Tuesday at the dirty little Funhouse, Scott Kaija, the guitarist for Controller.Controller was scarfing McDonald’s french fries that his girlfriend Juliann Wilding had muggled through the front door.
A few minutes later, Kaija was wailing on his Gretsch guitar on stage and front woman Nirmala Basnayake was handing a tambourine to a drunk guy that kept mumbling things to her between songs.
“They are hot to dance to,” said Wilding, from her perch about 20 feet from the stage. “They have a real visceral energy, I really like. They are really extreme and intense.”
Controller.Controller is another Canadian band (from Ontario) that has been barnstorming in their homeland and then down through the states over the last few years. They played their first gigs in 2003 in Toronto, and have since continued to hone their rhythmic post-punk rock into great, emotional danceable tunes. Since they started, guitarist Ronnie Morris moved to bass, which opened up a guitar position for Colwyn Llewellyn-Thomas, who regularly trades licks now with Kaija ala the Strokes and Joy Division.
As a vocalist, Basnayake does a pretty good job, but she needs to trade her cuteness for some more badass single-long-note stylings over the raucous music. Overall, Controller.Controller grooves ever-fervently, and their propensity for playing low-key sets in off-the-radar locales, just like the Funhouse, lends them a quiet confidence.
Currently, Controller.Controller is signed to upstart indie label Paper Bag Records, which has also been the launch pad for Broken Social Scene, Stars and Mathew Barber. They released a seven song EP called History in 2004 and released their full-length in the UK on March 6, and in the United States on March 7.
Although they did not headline the show at the Funhouse, they did give the closing night performers Neutral Boy a run for their money. Neutral boy (from Bremerton) has been playing around Seattle for years and is just about to embark on a huge West tour, playing the South by Southwest festival in a couple weeks.