Pre-Canada Day Party @ Club 1668 w/ Broken Ohms, JD & Overnight Enemy


Twas the night before Canada Day...

Pre-Canada Day Party at Club 1668 with:

BROKEN OHMS www.myspace.com/brokenohmsmusic
OVERNIGHT ENEMY www.myspace.com/overnightenemy
JOHNNY DICK PROJECT www.myspace.com/thejohnnydick


The Johnny Dick Project were up first. These guys had a pretty wild mishmash of styles, and it showed in their lineup, too: clearly uber metal guitarist, complete with long hair and spider finger power chords; hardcore/emo bassist, with Warwick and fancy tattoos; blues rock lead guitarist complete with telecaster, plus widely prolific singer Heather Doran (Kings Eden, Halcyon, the JDP, plus her solo work) and fantastic drummer Ian Kean (Halycon, Bad Seed Overdrive, HUGE), who’s wide range of styles seemed to be the key to holding the band together through their wide range of sounds.

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There were a lot of catchy grooves and some great heavy-yet-melodic bass lines, but the cognitive dissonance looking from stage left to right left one a little dizzy; sometimes the genre-bending mash-ups did little but make for a muddier sound that didn’t always sound coherent. It’s admirable to try and mix things up and draw on a wide range of influences, but I found myself wishing the band would concentrate more on one sound and take it deeper, rather than presenting the surface of a half different sounds. During the moments when members weren’t playing different genres on top of one another, I found myself tapping my foot and bobbing my head, and collecting some catchy vocal melodies.

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As diverse as the Halifax music scene is, one sub-genre that seems to have little representation in town is radio-ready cock rock. The self-assured swagger and general “Axel Rose-ing” about associated with the genre aren’t as common in the city as quirky vegan art-rock and heavy metal are. No one gave this memo to Overnight Enemy though. They take the stage with all the bravado of a post-grunge matador on a Red-Bull bender.

Overnight Enemy look and sound more like a band you might see on the Much Music Video Awards playing their aggressive yet accessible radio hit to thousands of screaming fans than a Halifax indie band. This is both a compliment and a criticism.

The band is extremely tight and technically proficient. Every member is uber skilled at their instrument. Guitarist Andy Maclean was the most fun to watch. His guitar playing was impressive and his tone was massive. His riffs were fantastic and along with the amazingly tight rhythm section of Jarrett Sullivan (bass) and Matt Wilson (drums) the band was a musical tour de force. Their playing was so dead on that the band’s mid-set cover of Muse’s Hysteria sounded almost exactly like the original recording.

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The problem for me – and this is completely a matter of taste – is the band’s extremely polished sound smoothed out the rough edges a little too much. Vocalist Matt Melvin has a great voice for this type of music. He sounds a little like Alice in Chain’s Layne Staley and his pitch is impeccable, but it also robs the band of any real edge beyond the masculine chest thumping heaviness and wall of sound.

From what lyrics I could pick out, the songs often seemed to be about the joys of sex and the vague angsty pains of being a rocker dude (to be fair I could be taking what lyrics I heard totally out of context). With a band full of such talented players, I’d like to see them do something with a little more substance, but like I said it’s all a matter of taste. If bands like Velvet Revolver and Buck Cherry are your thing you’ll probably love Overnight Enemy. Their live show is energetic and well executed. The crowd ate it up, demanding an encore which Overnight Enemy Delivered.

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Broken Ohms have been playing around Halifax for years and it shows. Their live set is a brutal chunk of face melting stoner rock. Their sound is pure heavy metal sludge, complete with soaring, roaring vocals and beats that make your head go bang. Their sound is great and their live show is a lot of fun.

Guitarist Troy Wilson not only sports the most awesome facial hair ever, he is a madman on the axe. He writhes around on stage - eyes bugged, tongue stuck out – shredding like mad and never missing a note. He’s a great showman.

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The band played off each other well, laying down a heavy slab of foundation for vocalist Peter Hubley to wail over. Hubley is a great vocalist for the band. He can do the heavy, raspy Clutch style vocals and then turn around and belt out a chorus that would make Bruce Dickinson proud. No other heavy metal singer in town sounds quite like him, and for that matter no heavy metal band in town sounds quite like Broken Ohms.

If you like Black Sabbath, Kyuss and the sound of rolling thunder you’ll love Broken Ohms. They serve it bloody and rare, just the way I like my rock & roll music.

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See the rest of the photos from this show - HERE -

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Photos: Tiffany Naugler
Johnny Dick Review/ Video: Dan Nightingale
Overnight Enemy/Broken Ohms Review: Isaac Thompson

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TNaugler

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