Hungry Hearts, Oh No Thedore, Total Camble Experience @ Gus' Pub July 25th 2010

- photo taken from Total Camble Experience My Space -

Hungry Hearts, Oh No Theodore, Total Camble Experience
@ Gus' Pub July 25th 2010

Halifax felt kind of like a ghost town that weekend. There were still plenty of people in the city going about their routine as if nothing had changed, but there was no denying something was missing. Practically every person aged twenty to thirty years (including most of the Noisography team) was gone. Something called the “Evolve Festival” had snatched all of our hipsters, ravers, rockers and hip hoppers leaving Halifax’s entire music scene virtually M.I.A.
Lucky for the few of us who stayed in Halifax, There were three bands from Fredericton New Brunswick who rolled into town to entertain the nice people.

Gus’ Pub was the place, and Oh No, Theodore was the first band. Here are three things you’ll notice if you go see their live show.

- photo taken from MySpace -

- The first thing you’ll notice is that they are a remarkably attractive and well dressed band.

- The second thing you’ll notice is: “oh neat, they have a cellist and a violinist.”

- And then Oh No, Theodore will start to play and the third and final thing you’ll notice is that they are astounding in their awesomeness.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that not only did the small audience enjoy Oh No, Theodore, they were floored by them. The band’s sound is orchestral yet heavy; pretty melodies with an ever present undertone of doom. The songs are more concerned with building to an epic orgasmic climax than typical pop song structure. Even though there are sugary hooks at every turn, the songs feel as though they have a destination more meaningful and fulfilling than mere hooks. The band could be compared to the Decemberists or Hey Rosetta, but that would cheapen their music and live-show, so lets not. Though their sound references those bands (and a ton of others), their music is unique and engaging.

Oh No, Theodore has only been together a short time but their sound is already tight and polished. They set the bar higher than an opening act is supposed to and it will be no surprise if they develop a huge following very soon.

If Oh No, Theodore are the sound of the funeral dirge, the Hungry Hearts are the soundtrack to the after-party. The band has a hyped up, old fashioned, straight-forward rock sound that is equal parts Springsteen and the Clash. Most importantly, they seem to have a knack for writing tight, water proof songs that are real gems. Their lyrics are smart, appropriate and quotable and their onstage performance is genuine.

The Hungry Hearts came out swinging and hardly ever let up.

- photo taken from MySpace -

Their lead singer (who’s voice kind of reminded me of the Pogues’ Shane Macgowan) had a great intangible charisma. He hopped around the stage like a pocket-sized jack in the box, pumping his fist and singing some great catchy, energetic anthems. The music itself was an amalgam of classic radio rock and contemporary alternative and indie rock. The drumming was of the powerhouse anthem rock variety, the bass locked into a solid grove (nothing exceptional, but that kind of restraint and service to the song can be the signs of a fantastic bassist) and the guitar mixed typical rockin power chords with more experimental noodling and poppy refrains..

The band comes off as long time friends who know each other better than they know themselves. Their onstage chemistry is obvious from the get-go. Their sound is in no way revolutionary but it is played with enthusiasm and intelligence, and in rock and roll those two things make all the difference.

(Total Camble Experience review by guest writer Jason Wilson)

- photo taken from MySpace -

I've never been much for instrumental bands. It's not that I don't appreciate the musicianship in music, it's that I prefer a collective mixing vocals with the instrumentation. I've never been able to fully connect with orchestral music for this reason. If, in advance, I'm aware a band is void of lyrics and relies solely on the music I am apprehensive and I don't tend to listen to bands without vocals anyway. I'm a lyrical guy and enjoy stories to be woven through music and without lyrics, how can this happen?

The Total Camble Experience surprised me. With a sound stemming from electronic-rock with elements of mid-90s, the band played a highly energetic show full of intense sound and dance-able beats. It had the air of nostalgia, hearkening to bands and sounds from my youth in an abstract way, no covers but it felt familiar and not in the "oh, this has been done before" way. Some guitar riffs reminded me of Sunny Day Real Estate's album Diary with its heavy, fast chords. Beyond that, The Total Camble Experience sounded like they were writing a soundtrack to an epic video game that has not yet been released; fitting, considering the guitarist was wearing a Mega Man t-shirt. They're in the same vein as Halifax's Nerd Army only they aren't covering ready-made video game soundtracks.

In this sense, The Total Camble Experience was able to stream a loose narrative without someone actively telling the story with words. When instrumental rock music works best is when it forces the audience to come up with the images in their own minds that they associate with the show; it becomes a pseudo-collaborative effort. The Total Camble Experience gets into its audience's head and it becomes a unique experience for each individual because, like most art, interpretation will never be the same for two different people. This band is a well-oiled machine that obviously loves the music it plays and this showmanship they demonstrate, the fact that the members of the band clearly believe in their music makes the experience that much more intimate.

While lyrics and prose in song will always be my go to, it would potentially hurt a band like The Total Camble Experience. I say potentially because there's no way to know unless they start to include it. But the spacey, techno-rock they produce is created smoothly and comfortably on stage that vocals are forgotten after the first couple songs when the audience slips into their own comfort zone with the show. I'm still not sure how well it would work for me on a set of headphones but The Total Camble Experience have at least given me reason to give it a shot.


1 comment:

Kyle Albright said...

Great great great article.