Earlier this year, Montreal art-rock quartet Ought released More Than Any Other Day. The album’s arrival was greeted by a fairly feverish amount of acclaim from those who heard it, and yet the band has remained something of an unsung gem.

Their debut performance in Los Angeles, which took place at the Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock Tuesday night, was greeted in much the same way. Those in attendance enjoyed a performance from a new band that oozed the confidence of career artists, but the venue was a fair way from being sold out, suggesting that the gospel of Ought has not yet spread as far as it should have.

All photos by Laura Chirinos

So let me do my part. Ought plays a brand of post-punk-influenced rock that is ambitious whilst looking effortless and expansive without being in the least bit indulgent. More Than Any Other Day revealed a band that had perfected its sound, a third or fourth album for most bands, but it was this quartet’s debut. They might not share very much in the way of style with their Constellation Records label mates, but Ought’s aesthetic is very familiar. Their music courses with inspiration and anger, and it’s difficult not to get swept away with it all.


Especially when they open a live set with “Today More Than Any Other Day,” the (almost) title track from the album, which begins as a teasing and brooding slow burn before a sudden acceleration of tempo morphs the song into a fists-in-the-air rock anthem. Along with lead single “The Weather Song,” it was an exhilarating start to the set before Ought explored more of their range over the next hour or so.


Inevitably, most of the songs from the setlist were drawn from More Than Any Other Day, with one new song dropped in at the end, and the majority of tracks saw some level of expansion from their recorded counterparts. “Gemini” in particular became almost apocalyptic in its intensity, while “Habit” and “Forgiveness” saw the band swap sheer pace for subtler dynamics that were no less impressive. During those two songs, Tim Beeler had a chance to stretch his vocal range and display the versatility that makes this band such an enticing prospect.


Backed by his excellent band’s tight but malleable arrangements, Beeler embodies the confidence that Ought displays at such an early age. His vocal delivery switched between the sardonic and the firebrand, his body language suggesting that he is a self-aware rock star in the making and that despite the passionate rhetoric on display, he is first and foremost an entertainer.

And this was an extremely entertaining show, a workout for a group of guys that sounded like they might have it all on record backing it up on stage. I cannot wait to see what Ought does next and witness new audiences being infected by the enthusiasm the band provokes.

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