Saturday, 15 June 2013

white canvas sky

White Canvas Sky  |  Pub St. Ciboire

                        PHOTOS  |  VALERIA VEGA

Once again, I made my way out to Pub St. Ciboire in search of beers, loud music, good times, and everything else in between. I had not visited that particular venue since the Milo McMahon show back in the winter, so I was excited to bask in its unmistakeable comfortable ambience for another time. I purchased for myself a draught pale ale, sat myself down, and let the amplified sounds approach my ears with anticipation. All the bands that played on this night of May 17th were local, which is always a treat as it is an opportunity to take a sample of some of Montreal’s rising stars in the music scene. The first band was Adam’s Always Late.

I was excited to finally catch Adam’s Always Late, as there was a period of time during the winter where posters for a show they played were plastered all over the Concordia downtown campus. The music they play is what mp3.com in its salad days would have termed as “alternative metal,” as their sound - riffs, vocal style, and all -  is firmly in the territory of bands such as Sevendust or Godsmack. They do, however, pepper their songs with the Aeolian mode Swedish melodic death metal-inspired riffs that groups like Killswitch Engage popularized a number of years ago. I have to admit, I’m not so hot on this style, even though I realize that it has a wide appeal in the greater metal-listening public. My years of participation in Alberta’s bar-rock scene exposed me to far more bands in this style than I would have ever cared to hear; I remember at one point going with a friend’s band to some festival near Red Deer that featured three full days (as in 11 in the morning until past midnight) of that kind of stuff. Enough bad Chad Kroeger impersonations to make you want to vomit. That aside, they all played tightly, the vocalist was on pitch, and the drumming was competent. Alex Robshaw came next.

Alex Robshaw is a singer-songwriter (a pianist!) with a backup band. They are a little more my style, as they play a kind of bluesy hard rock that is reminiscent of Tool in some places and similar to Sabbathy stoner doom in others. Their bassist gets high marks from me, as he held down the bottom end with gusto despite having only joined the band two weeks prior. Likewise, I was particularly impressed with their drummer. He had a firm grasp of good dynamics and is able to make some hard hits on the kit. Alex’s vocals are another high point in the sound; she packs power and grit into her singing, and she has an impressive vocal range. Her gothic buresque fashion sense also serves to set her apart as a front person from the rest of the bros in the city’s hard rock scene. Unique!

Finally, White Canvas Sky took the stage. Their particular brand of grungy rock is signified by powerful, and at times snarling and growling vocals offset by warmer acoustic guitar tones. An electric guitarist supplied scratchy riffs underneath the acoustic chords as well melodic, singing leads. I dug the bassist’s good vibes, as he supplied some boogieing and sometimes polyrhythmic rhythms to the overall sound. The drumming was absolutely top-notch; I’m talking about a Nashville session drummer level of skill here. White Canvas Sky played their extensive set of catchy tunes to an enthusiastic crowd of what appeared to be some long-time fans; they kept calling for their favourite songs throughout White Canvas Sky’s time on stage and sang along with quite a few numbers. There was some real love between the band and its audience. It was a good atmosphere to behold, and it enhanced my appreciation of the music. I would definitely recommend checking out one of their shows in the near future.

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