A few weeks ago, local band IQEQ performed an acoustic set at The Record Exchange. Dan McMahon, Kyle Letner, Nate Paradis and Tom Kershaw are creative fellows (extending their talents to write for BW), but that creativity can sometimes be a hindrance. At their shows, IQEQ songs often evolve into a wall of sound that—with changing time signatures, crazy arrangements and an ever-shifting lead vocalist—can serve as a barrier to listeners. This acoustic set (their first ever) offered a glimpse of the band in a more intimate, palatable format and they sounded incredible. An equipment malfunction—McMahon's keyboard stand collapsed, sending the board crashing to the floor—led to some technical difficulties, but McMahon redeemed himself when he whipped out his clarinet and played it as fiercely as he does in less subdued settings. What little bit of intermittent audience chatter there was, ceased when McMahon started to blow.
Sadly, this performance is one of the last for IQEQ, plugged in or acoustic. High-energy drummer/vocalist Paradis will soon be moving across country to be closer to family, and with him goes an integral part of what makes IQEQ who and what they are. It's possible that even without Paradis, IQEQ will soldier on, retaining their original sound and synergy. It's possible in the way it's possible that Michael Jackson has only ever had one rhinoplasty.