THE PARAGON - Dog Day, Tomcat, Sleepless Nights, Share, Slate Pacific

5 Bands, one potentially powerless stormy evening



The Slate Pacific started off the show.
These guys have a great, slowcore/pop sound that's pretty unique in the Maritimes. With two guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards/xylophone, plus two talented singers, the key word here is definetly 'lush.' The band brings a big, full sound while keeping a very tight rein on the dynamics – largly thanks in part to drummer Zach Atkinson. A lot of drummers end up hitting harder to keep the beat while playing slowly – Zach manages to keep it low and tight, giving the band lots of room to break out when it wants to turn up the volume. There's a lot of emphasis on taking every part and chord progression to it's fullest extent before moving on, and overlapping melodies from the guitars, piano, and vocals give even the longest songs enough variety to keep it interesting.


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Up next were Share, the extended solo project of Andrew sisked backed up by most of Fredericton's finest musicians, including Kyle Cunjak on Upright Bass. The set started out with what could only be perhaps called a ukulele ballad by Andrew as the rest of the band joined it. After years of touring and recording these guys are about as tight as a band can be, and all though the material is at it's core straight ahead pop music, the band still delivers enough musical gusto to keep things interesting every time the band plays. The crowd was swelling up at this point, as the weather died down, and Share kept them happy and dancing for the short but sweet set.


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Halifax's own Sleepless Nights took the stage to push the storm-day dance party to the next level. Old favorites like “Radio Silence” mixed with the newest songs from their free EP, “Te Phonebooth Outside the Video Store. With pounding drums, raunchy bass, and soaring guitar stacks, the band took the evening well into the rock arena. The crowd bounced up and down and clapped along at every opportunity, which the band provided in abundance. As a band these guys have really refined down what it takes to create great, catchy pop rock songs – one each of guitar, bass, drums, and synth all provide their own distinct voice that meshes perfectly in a mix – years of touring, songwriting, and recording really show with how the sounds in the band blend together just right. (Their free EP is available for download at http://www.thesleeplessnights.com/PHONEBOOTH.HTML )


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and since Dan was playing with Tomcat Combat, we asked our friend Pinky from the Sleepless Nights if he would write a review on Tomcat's set...

Back when there were jam spaces on top of the TD Bank on Quinpool road Tomcat Combat rented out the room next to us. Every time we were setting up or loading out we could hear them practicing and it always sounded like the world was imploding into itself and all of their gear was being sucked into this vortex of pure tone and fuzz. Tomcat Combat is ear candy for musicians (and dance candy for everyone else), they put so much thought into the raw sound of their instruments that it makes the sound of their shows fairly consistent wherever they are playing. I have seen them play on floors and stages with no PA, I’ve seen them in Hamilton, Ontario and I’ve seen them open for Modest Mouse, I’ve seen them practice, I’ve seen different line ups, and last night I got to share the stage with them at The Paragon.

Let’s just say I’ve probably seen Tomcat Combat more than you.

Dan didn’t want to review his own set for his blog, so I get to do it. Personally, if I were him I would have just reviewed it with a itemized breakdown of every mistake that happened that the band would notice but not the crowd. You know, like this.

  1. 40 seconds into third song Gary clicks sticks together. I give him evil glare.

  2. Botched the ending of the 3rd song, got distracted by Alex Mitchell’s boyish charm.

  3. Rocked out too hard and unplugged my bass on first, fourth and fifth song.


I’m usually pretty good at picking out band fuck ups, especially when I know the songs. I had every intention of being a dick and picking them out and writing them here, except as far as I could tell last night at The Paragon, they didn’t make any.

If you’ve never heard of Tomcat Combat, you’re in luck. They’re an easy band to get your friends into, so you won’t have to go to shows alone. Last night they played a solid amount of songs from their record, I’m Okay You’re Okay along with some new songs they have been playing for a while, and at least one I had never heard before.

Their talent is unquestionable, hell, I already wrote about how awesome a drummer Gary is on my own blog here (http://bloodydrumknuckles.blogspot.com/2009/10/indie-spotlight-tomcat-combat-im-ok.html), the rest of the guys match his ability with their respective instruments. I don’t really know how to review their actual show. Tomcat Combat shows kinda go jun jun ticka ticka and there’s some synth swirlies and swoops and then it gets all like pshhhhhhhhtssssss and then there’s lasers and fire. It’s always pretty epic but last night having it push through the massive sound system of The Paragon made it that much better.



The Maritimes has its share of micro-scenes, but the difference between most of them and the instrumental scene is that the Maritimes has always had top quality instrumental bands. Bands like Force Fields and Instruments could compete on an international level with the top guys given the right push and exposure, and Tomcat Combat is no different. Every band works their ass off practicing, writing, and rehearsing but with them it comes through very well in the performance.

That folks, is the key.

- Pinky




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Dog Day capped the show off in front of an appreciate home town audience, and didn't disappoint. Despite a clean sound check earlier in the night, the set suffered from some sound issues, distortion, low and boomy vocals and muddy guitars. Despite this they pushed on, with new drummer Rob Shedden pounding at his double-floor tom kit (maybe a habit he picked up jamming in his other new band with former York Redoubt members?). The band ripped through a tight set, once again no doubt a benefit of endless touring and recording. The sound improved slightly though the set, though disappointingly the vocals remained somewhat muddy and unclear – one of the best hooks Dog Day offer is their great boy/girl vocals courtesy of guitarist and bassist Seth Smith and Nancy Urich. None the less the band put on a great show, closing off with a Nirvana tune.


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All in all it was a great night that went pretty damn well, even with shitty weather, power outages, 5 bands, and delayed flights.


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Review - Daniel Nightingale & Josh Pothier
Video - Daniel Nightingale & Tiffany Naugler
Photos - Tiffany Naugler




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