COMING UP - Caribou @ The Paragon, Featuring TOMCAT COMBAT

This Friday, JUNE 11th, Polaris prize winning CARIBOU returns to Halifax to play at the Paragon Theatre!

Support for the show is Rich Aucoin & Halifax's own Tomcat Combat.

To get you ready for the show, I asked Noel MacDonald, Dan Nightingale and Kevin Mombourquette of Tomcat Combat to give us some insight on what its like to be in one of Halifax's most noteworthy bands.


- For those who have yet to experience Tomcat Combat live, what can they expect to see on Friday night?

Noel: I’m always interested to know what people who see us for the first time think. Sound technicians at venues tend to tell us afterward that they didn’t quite know how to mix us. They usually put every instrument in the mix equally and let us do our thing. Maybe that’s telling? I like that each member plays their own part that’s different from the next guy and somehow it comes together to make something that resembles pop.

Dan: We tend to come out with a bang, a big start to grab your attention, and from there it's just about sounds, melodies, rhythms, things make that your mind work, but are also just enjoyable to hear and to experience. You can really think about it, if you're a musician or you're into that kind of thing, but you can also just let the music run through your brain, and maybe dance a little if you feel like it. The main thing is just hearing music and musical ideas and hopefully you'll hear something refreshing that you haven't heard before.

Kevin: We have developed a reputation for being exceptionally loud live.

- How do you guys typically spend the last hour before hitting the stage? Any pre-performance rituals?

Noel: I tend to get really anxious before we play. For some reason it’s difficult for me to relax and hang out before hand. I think it’s because I get really eager to play. Especially when we play at the Paragon, because I love playing there so much. I’m pretty wound up most of the time, anyways though.

Dan: After all the actual "work" setting up and testing gear and sound checking, everyone sort of does their own thing - some people hang out and chat with people who are around, other bands, sound guy, whatever. Other people go get food, or hang out at the bar and drink. After this long we sort of know what to expect when we get up there, so we just try and relax and be ready to play a good show.

Kevin: nervous pacing, 2 bottles of Oland's beer as quickly as I can put them down, and one Jager-bomb. This allows me to pretend I'm not an introvert long enough to perform, but without rendering my motor-skills useless.

- You guys have played at the Paragon many times, both headlining and supporting major acts, what’s your favorite/least favorite thing about the venue?

Noel: I absolutely love the sound and the stage. I’ve seen many great bands play on that stage. It’s very gratifying to be able to play there too. It’s something I appreciate and I’m grateful for every time we play there.

Dan: It's a nice stage to play on because it's a good size, but it's not too big. It's good because you can get your amp up there and far enough away from you that you can hear it, but you're still close enough to everyone and to the audience that it feels more personal, not disconnected.

Kevin: There is a certain prestige that comes with every opportunity to play that stage. You can think about some of your favorite bands having rocked out on the same circle of floor you're standing on. Best of all, it has a great stage sound.

- What’s been the bands most embarrassing experience (if any)?

Dan: We probably did a lot of stupid things on tour, and we've played our share of shows to empty rooms... I think the worst was a show - I won't say where - but our first time in the area and we just played to the bartender and Noel's dad. I think he liked us, Noel's dad.

Kevin: Moments before sound checking when we opened for Modest Mouse at the Halifax forum, a member of the band (whose name I will spare for the sake of his dignity) decided to substitute paper towel bits for earplugs (a common practice amongst starving musicians), only he made them entirely too small, and it took an emergency crew from St. john's Ambulance to remove one of them after it slipped deep into his ear canal, resting directly on his eardrum.

- What’s the most ‘rock star’ thing you have ever done?

Dan: Uhh... nothing I can think of... sometimes I stand on my amp or throw my bass into the crowd. We're pretty polite for a rock band. We mind our manners. I know at least one person in the band has used the 'I'm in the band' line on the ladies at least once... not naming any names...

Kevin: I once copied my fellow musician Chad Peck of Kestrels. He had a super cool move where he raked his guitar along the ceiling above the stage at Baba's lounge in Charlottetown for rad feedback effects. I did this at the Seahorse in Halifax. Way less cool. I caught a string on a nail (which of course, removed it violently) and left nasty scratch marks in my brand new Gibson 59' gold plated pickups. It seemed cool enough at the time though.

- The last Tomcat record was released in 2008… when do you think we will see another Tomcat recording? Are you working on new material?

Noel: We are writing and revising a lot of material. It takes us a long time to write a song before we are all personally satisfied with it. We work pretty hard at smoothing everything out and that’s where we are right now. We also took a little time out this year to write and record a soundtrack for a video game. It’s called Gundead. People can find it on iTunes.

Dan: Like Noel said we took a bit of time to work on some soundtrack material, which was really fun and was a nice break from our normal stuff, it really let us get creative in a different way, and there wasn't a huge amount of pressure.... we just threw around some ideas, went in and did our thing, and I think it came out really well.

- Is there anything you would like to add? Anything new in the world of Tomcat?

Dan: We're slow but hopefully there will be some more new songs soon, and maybe some records in the not too distance future, who knows. We're sort of keeping low now but we'll probably always be working on something - someone's always going to write a song and say 'well, I don't know who's going to play something that crazy except Tomcat!'


CARIBOU live in Halifax!
Start Time: Friday, June 11, 2010 at 9:30pm
End Time: Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 2:00am
Location: The Paragon Theatre

$15 adv / $20 door

Get tickets for the show here:
by phone at 888-311-9090, or at any participating ticketpro outlet.


Interview & Photo: Tiffany Naugler


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