Show Review: Oh No, Theodore! With Quiet Parade and The Total Camble Experience

Review by Isaac Thompson


Oh No, Theodore! are returning to the great city of Halifax after their performance at the Bus Stop Theatre for In The Dead of Winter festival!

Total Camble Experience 
www.myspace.com/getcambled

Quiet Parade
www.myspace.com/quietparade

Oh No, Theodore!
www.myspace.com/ohnotheodore
www.ohnotheodore.com

There seems to be some sort of unspoken rule in live music that only bands who have similar sounds should share a stage. It’s like people can’t handle (or aren’t interested in) too much variety. If you go out to see your favorite metal band, you can bet your slacks that they will be preceded by three other metal bands. It definitely makes sense for promoters and bands (it’s a lot safer bet to have a night of hip hop music than a line-up of three or four different genres) but as an audience member I always prefer shows that feature bands who sound nothing like each other. I think the genre of a band is maybe the least important thing about a band. I’m much more interested in the way they write their songs, the passion they perform them with and what they are trying communicate with their music.

Thursday night’s show at Gus’ Pub featuring the Total Camble Experience, Quiet Parade and Oh No, Theodore! was the kind of show that really makes me feel fortunate to be a reviewer working in Halifax, a city where bands who appear to have no business sharing a bill will play together anyway and prove your preconceptions wrong. Rules are meant to be broken, especially the unspoken ones.

The night began with a post-rock freak out with the Total Camble Experience. The band consists of five scruffy New Brunswickers (I should know, for I too am a scruffy N.B.er) who play an eclectic mix of instrumental prog, riff rock and dance. They requested that the audience not clap in between songs; this was obviously due to the way their songs weave and blend together like chapters in a novel. This request was honored for about five minutes. It was tricky not to clap. Having seen hundreds of shows, clapping after a song is done is my equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the sound of a bell, I can’t help it. But more than that, the band was so good that it seemed a crime not to clap.

Total Camble Experience - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 05

Total Camble Experience - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 03

The TCE are a band who makes me realize how useless my job as a reviewer is. I love writing and talking and thinking about music as much as I love listening to it, but absolutely every single word ever used to describe music is useless and feeble. If I tell you a band was heavy or funky or epic or folky or salty, does any of that come close to conveying the experience of hearing said band? They are all piss poor ways to describe music.

Total Camble Experience - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 02

Total Camble Experience - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 01

The only way we can relate music to one another is to compare it to something we’ve already heard, which inherently robs music of its power. As I watched the TCE I rattled off a few bands in my head that I could compare them to, but stopped by the second song because that list had become overwhelmingly huge. The group takes a bit of everything and tosses it together in a microwavable container which they then nuke on high for about 45 minutes. Does that description make sense? Probably not. Does it aptly describe the band and how their music feels? Not a chance. Go see them for yourself.

Video:


If the next band had been the same flavor as the TCE I might have gotten a little bored, but Quiet Parade were conceived on the opposite end of the dial.

“How does the saying go, ‘…and now for something completely different’?” Vocalist Trevor Murphy quipped before the first song. The band definitely made good on their promise, they took the evening in a whole new direction.

Quiet Parade - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 06

Quiet Parade - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 05

Quiet Parade focused their attentions on an entirely separate soundscape. Where the TCE was all vocal-less, thunderous bombast, Quiet Parade’s songs are built around the vocals, with the band subtly punctuating the lyrics. The band lays down a low-key, but powerful bed-rock for Murphy to layer his impressive poetry on with a laid-back delivery that, like his lyrics, is honest and relatable.

Quiet Parade - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 04

Quiet Parade’s songs are introspective, touching and often sad (heartbreaking even) but never wallowing in self-pity. Murphy has a great talent for writing sad songs in a way that is relentlessly relatable and true. I was completely taken with the lyrics to every single song they played. The truly amazing thing was how the sad songs always had playfulness and a sense of hope to them, which is a difficult task for a lyricist. Life is both terrible and fantastic and I appreciate Murphy’s ability to articulate both so poignantly.

Quiet Parade - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 03

That’s not to say I wasn’t impressed by everything else that was going on, Murphy has a solid band backing him up. Jason Methot’s guitars compliment the music perfectly, which is true for all of the 10,000 bands he plays in. As the guitarist in the Fantods, Methot is an animal armed to the teeth with super heavy riffs and distortion; in Quiet Parade he lightly peppers the songs with added textures and colours without overwhelming anything. He’s a guitarist who knows how to rock but also knows restraint. He lives to serve the song.

Quiet Parade - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 02

Noisography’s own Pinky was behind the drum kit, and like Methot, he showed great restraint and skill. When the song called for it, Pinky was the band’s source of power and drive, but he also knew when to hold back and let Murphy’s vocals shine for maximum effect. Along with Bassist Anthony Phillips, he provides a groove that moves the songs along but knows its place.

Quiet Parade - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 01

The band debuted back-up Vocalist Melanie Mackenzie to great success. She is a damn good singer/songwriter in her own right and she is a perfect addition to Quiet Parade. Her voice is smooth, pretty and powerful. It compliments Murphy’s straight forward singing style quite well.

Again, all of these words cannot do justice. Go see Quiet Parade with someone you love.

Video:


And steering the night in one final left turn was Fredericton N.B’s Oh No, Theodore! I have made it no secret that I frigging love this band. I’ve reviewed them for Noisography when they played their first Halifax gig and I have written about them for Glasgow Podcart. The word “awesome” gets tossed around a lot, so I might as well toss it around a bit more. Oh No, Theodore are one of the most awesome-est bands that ever awesomed up New Brunswick, and they’re spreading their awesome like it’s a venereal disease at a Charlie Sheen porno party.

Oh No, Theodore! - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 07

Oh No, Theodore! - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 04

Oh No, Theodore! - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 02

What can I say about these guys? They play a powerful, dense brand of intimate rock music. The songs are the singer/songwriter type that someone writes in their bedroom on an acoustic guitar at 5:00 in the morning and then beefed up with distorted electric guitar, a violin, some badass cello and thunderous drums. Like folk music filtered through Led Zeppelin, the Decemberists and wintersleep. If the Fleet Foxes met King crimson in a dark alley their ensuing fistfight might sound like an Oh, No Theodore song.

Oh No, Theodore! - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 03

Oh No, Theodore! - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 06

Oh No, Theodore! - Gus' Feb 24th 2011 - 01

The band’s set was fantastic. The crowed ate up every second of it. Every song is killer, the lead vocals are done with skill and awesome pitch, the songs build with an ominous threat of explosion and when they finally explode it is (there’s that word again) awesome!

Enough already! Just go see them. You won’t be sorry.

Video:


As a music fan with somewhat eclectic tastes (if I had a radio show, no one anywhere would listen to it: “You’re listening to Isaac radio, That was Wu Tang Clan’s “Bring Da Ruckus” followed by Townes Van Zandt’s “Lungs” and now, here’s Slayer with “Dead Skin Mask”) it’s refreshing and fun to see a crazy line-up like this. I was never bored and I was treated to three different bands that have very little in common besides their commitment to making good music and sharing it with the people - and Goddammit, when it comes to music, that’s all that matters.

________________________
See all the photos from this show HERE.
See all our videos HERE.

noisography

No comments: