The Miss Bennets @ Gus Pub w/ The Fairley Fishy Trio

written by Isaac Thompson

It was an out of the ordinary night at Gus’ pub to say the least. First off, only two bands played as opposed to Gus’ usual 3-5 band line-ups, and the sound of both bands was far removed from the usual rock, metal, punk and dance shows the bar is known for.

The Miss Bennets, a three-piece originating from Kingston Ontario, opened the night with a set of light, folky pop.

The Miss Bennets

The group’s show had a few problems off the bat: their stage presence was rather weak, their songs were often overlong and too edgeless to feel really inspired, and their lack of any kind of rhythm section left the songs sounding emptier than they should have. The Bennets stuck to a limited sonic lexicon of vocals, keys, guitar and violin making the songs seem same-ish. The harmonies the three girls laced every song with bounced between pretty and irritatingly off key. The lyrics, which often went for humour, were at times clever but other times sounded like the offspring of a middle school kid’s poetry and a high school kid’s diary.

The Miss Bennets

Speaking of offspring, one of the groups more amusing songs (I’m Too Young to Have Your Baby, Baby’) was introduced with a speech about the band’s commitment to abstinence, which was surely the first time that particular “A” word has ever been uttered at Gus’. The group's no-sex-till-marriage message didn’t seem to resonate with the crowd that much (unless coughs, crickets and groans are the new signs of crowd approval) but their songs routinely received loud applause and cat-calls.

While their live show could use some polishing (and a rhythm section), It took a lot of guts to bring their message of abstinence to the people at Gus’ Pub. It’s not a popular point of view for a rock band to have and for that they deserve a little respect. Still, the group should spend a little more time harnessing their sound if they want to win over Halifax’s hedonistic music fans.

The Miss Bennets

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The Fairley Fishy Trio brought a little pulse to the joint with their funky, party rave-ups. The FFT also suffered from similar sounding songs and lyrics that often felt lazy and uninspired but their tight rhythm section (including some slamming bass guitar runs) kept things lively. The groups songs often seemed to be about dancing, getting your funk on and other such activities and their sound matched the sentiment quite well. The drums were steady, the guitar concentrated (a little too much) on reggae style upstrokes and the vocals were well executed. The singer’s style was comparable to Rob Thomas, which is fitting enough because the band ended up covering a Matchbox 20 song (another first for Gus’ Pub). There's no doubt that FFT is a band that can write a catchy song with strong hooks.

Fairly Fishy Trio

Fairly Fishy Trio

The group had a few ballads, Claire from the Bennets joined them on violin for the more laid back numbers, but their charm was mostly found in their up-tempo tunes. The FFT have a nice sheen to their sound and played really well off each other. If you like to shake it and if seeing a band cover Matchbox 20 without irony doesn’t boil your blood, you would most likely dig these guys a lot.

Fairly Fishy Trio

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