Hallelujah Blackout Showcase
STRNGRS, The Balconies, Brett Saxon, Fixtures, Mount Sharp, Edmund II, The Motorleague
249 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11215
Doors 7:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
STRNGRS is a 3-piece rock & roll outfit from New York City. Sounds, smiles, and situations to make you feel good.
It's a birds and the bees sort of question… Or maybe a chicken or the egg sort of question… What came first the rosined violin strings, major falls, classical theory or the smashed guitars, split finger tips and sweaty bodies?
To see the Balconies play is nothing short of grasping at science. Even when placed down neatly in a Petri dish underneath thumbs and forefingers – the DNA-code of their infectious pop hooks interweaved with classical sensibility and theory is hard to discern. At what point did their university-learned mastery of classical theory give birth to their understanding of rock and roll energy and pop structuring? Hence the whole chicken-or-the-egg conundrum…
"Whoa, check out the vocal pipes on that one!", "I can't stop dancing!", "Those bass lines are so bold!" "I heard they were created in a lab!", "I want to live on those eyelashes!" – cry the swarms of people, mouths open and half-finished bottles held waiting for the set's end so as not to miss a moment.
But the Ottawa ex-pats don't bat an uncoordinated lash – they play onwards in sweaty leather, haloed by the spotlight.
The Balconies are a band with a story. Siblings Jacquie and Steven Neville lead from their perches at the front of the stage, with Jacquie's wide-eyed guitar strums and Stephen's lanky bass lines tumbling in a dryer filled with Liam Jaeger's rhythmic peppering.
For those well-versed in indie-rock archetypes, the Balconies' beginnings – boy meets girl in university while studying classical music; girl drags brother out of school and into the basement; boy, girl and younger brother pound out rock jams to the outstretched arms of Ottawa bars. But beginnings are just that – the roots that sprouted.
Things change. We all know this. Hair grows longer, eyes grow wider and calluses form.
The sprawl of our government's city could no longer hold the sweaty crowds, and with hungry hearts – like a trio of lost city racoons –The Balconies made their way to Toronto to bask in the spoils of the vibrant music scene.
Aperitifs were provided – in the form of a self recorded release – while ballrooms buzzed for something more complete. The seasons somersaulted and the trio shed their rookie-skin playing an endless stream of shows and festivals from coast to coast. Sharing the stage with Cold War Kids, Juliette Lewis, Melissa Auf der Maur, Mother Mother, Land of Talk, and Sloan and killing decibels at Ottawa Bluesfest, North by Northeast, Canadian Music Fest, WESTFEST, all the way to Pop Montreal, The Balconies sowed their loyal fanbase.
But the hunger remains, so The Balconies have enlisted notable producer Jon Drew (Tokyo Police Club, Fucked Up) for their first full length and will unleash a new 7-inch May 2011 with two songs recorded by Drew.
Somewhere in the city, speakers still ring with the remnants of The Balconies feedback.
And ring on they will, as The Balconies leave a trail of exploded speakers and broken drumsticks in their wake.
So if you're not interested in sparring vocals, feedback, whipping hair, sweaty bodies, dancing drums and bottom-heavy bass lines, steer clear of the Balconies.
If you fancy a riot of gargantuan rhythmic proportions, swing by.
Oh… and bring earplugs – this will get loud.
Brett Saxon is a singer/songwriter from Minneapolis, MN, now living in Brooklyn, NY. His music is reminiscent of musicians such as Andrew Bird and Wilco. Brett will be releasing a new album in the new year.
Fixtures is a band led by
songwriter Kris Liakos with
additional vocals by Lauren
Houdlett and Rick Schneider on
bass. They make booming breakdown country highway noise rock.
mars fuzz rock, songs about monsters, and other science noises from the gowanus canal
Currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, Edmund II began developing his approach to music in the underground rock scenes of the midwest. Forming the cello-rock band Utah! in '98, and touring US and Canada, Edmund II has shared stages w/ Guided by Voices, the Lemonheads, Ted Leo, Promise Ring, the Frogs and Menomena. After relocating, he commenced “rocking out” in the infamous North Carolina scene. Through various projects and cameo's, Edmund II performed and collaborated with the Rosebuds (Merge Records), Bowerbirds, and Megafaun.
With a tasteful chord pallete, Edmund II has gracefully evolved from rock and roll beginnings. He creates a very lush, mystical, and beautifully dark environment for his music with influences ranging from bossanova guitar, Tortoise, the Cure, Sigur Ros to Shellac.
After a substantial writing sabbatical in the fall of '09, Edmund II began the recordings for his first solo project. Conceptually in the making for 3 years, Edmund II's “Floating Monk” is a carefully crafted tale. The album is an artful balance of atmosphere and pop, but heavy in all the right places. Think Nick Drake meets Nick Cave meets Slowdive...surrounded by Doves.
It’s mere seconds into a typical track by The Motorleague that listeners realize what they’re in for. Be it a blistering single-string guitar riff delivered through an amp that’s seemingly been set afire or a bludgeoning smash to the snare drum, this band delivers its punk-influenced hard rock with an unrelenting urgency from start to finish. Or at least that was the case with the band’s heralded 2009 debut LP, Black Noise… their 2013 follow-up Acknowledge, Acknowledge also features a flurry of high-energy, riff-anchored rock, it’s also much more dynamic and expressive – and that was the idea from the outset.
Formed in Moncton, NB from the relics of revered local rock outfits The Ditchpigs and The Monoxides, The Motorleague was originally an outlet for lead vocalist/guitarist/primary songwriter Don Levandier and his band mates to blend a penchant for ‘90s skate punk with the sludgier sounds of stoner rock. “I never knew whether I wanted to be in a punk band or Fu Manchu rip-off,” Levandier says of the group’s formative years, and even now, traces of each are audible in the band’s output.
Having undergone more than its fair share of lineup changes, with the release of Acknowledge, Acknowledge, The Motorleague has marked a new beginning with a firmly- cemented stable of players set to carry the banner forward. Joining Levandier are Shawn Chaisson (bass/vocals), Francis Landry (drums), and Nathan Jones (guitar/vocals). And while their influences are still on their sleeves, over time, The Motorleague has morphed into a rock band that exists strictly on its own terms.
Black Noise and its sinfully catchy single “Hymn For The Newly Departed” attracted quite a bit of attention to the band. In addition to taking home two East Coast Music Awards and one Music New Brunswick award in 2010, The Motorleague has also performed alongside contemporaries like Alexisonfire, Flogging Molly, Rise Against, Priestess, and Propagandhi. Produced by Steve Rizun (The Flatliners, The Creepshow), Acknowledge, Acknowledge is an extension of the sound established with its predecessor. Tracks like lead single “North America” are dense and dirty with the familiar slick riffs, huge harmonies, and anthemic choruses that unite lost voices. “Every Man Needs A Cape Breton,” on the other hand, is slightly more upbeat and boasts a healthy dose of mainstream rock. Others like “Oh How The Mighty Have Fallen” and “Burned In Effigy” are more sparse in their arrangement, drawing the focus to Levandier’s fine-tuned vocal phrasing and lyrics.
“A lot of these songs deal with frustrations,” Levandier explains delving into his words. From the Internet turning into an arena of hatred to the hardships of being on the road to the band’s geographical underpinnings, Levandier says it’s a simple of matter of writing about what he knows and sees – and that honest and pure approach spreads throughout every aspect of The Motorleague.
“We’re not a new band,” Levandier says. “We’ve been at this for years; we’ve played some big shows and been to some cool places. Now we want to get out on the road again and push onwards.” Armed with a new collection of songs and plenty of piss and vinegar, The Motorleague will soon be impossible to ignore, infecting audiences across North America with their intense live performances and now-signature hard rock stylings. Acknoweldge, Acknowledge indeed…
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