Show Overview: Minus World @ The Paragon Theatre w/ No Flyers Please - May 4th 2011

Overview/ Video by Dan Nightingale
Photos/ Video by Tiffany Naugler

Wednesday, May 4th,
The Paragon Theatre presents:





Doors at 8pm!
$5 cover!

We arrive at the Paragon Café shortly 9:00PM, after getting a Facebook message that the show would, in fact, start at 9. Finally, semi-early, on time shows in Halifax! Sadly. We were among the first to arrive and bar staff scrambled to check out IDs as bands were nowhere to be seen. To be fair, the show started just around 10, but it still seems unfair to use the power of social media to promote one start time but still fall back into the usual Halifax ways.

Wright Whales first song was an incomprehensible mash of frantic wah-wah guitar, funky bass, and cheesy dance beats with some pretty confusing vocal styles. Their second song displayed a similar lack of style, with vocals that ranged from mumbling to screaming (?) while the music sounded more like jazzy country rock. After a quick cigarette endorsement (??) and a broken string, the band carried on, though sadly the broken string joke song was probably the best song of the night. All this segued into some more synth heavy tunes, which sounded thick and deep, though the superfluousness bursts of foul language for no apparent reason were once again head scratchingly out of place.
Far more interesting, at least visually, was the live painting of the event by local painter Sharon Hodgson, slowly bringing the scene unfolding before us to life. It was a great concept and perfectly executed, and it's great to see other artistic elements being added to live music shows. Back on stage, Wright Whales redeemed themselves slightly with a synth heavy, emotional penultimate tune with some great guitar shredding and team vocals. Unfortunately their last song was just a rip off of the brilliant “Night Man” track from hilarious dark comedy “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” capturing none of the songs original dark humor (like Charlie huffing paint while composing the song).

Wright Whales - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 08
Wright Whales - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 06

Wright Whales - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 07
Wright Whales - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 01

One fun game I like to play with bands I've never seen before is trying to guess what their music sounds like from clues during their setup – like what they're wearing, what kind of guitars they have, how many times their drummer plays double kick and/or over the top tom rolls as warms, etc. Alice Stops Time kept me guessing right up to the first note. While I appreciate a band who takes the time to coordinate and look presentable, Alice Stops Time looked like they just stopped by the venue on their way home from junior prom. As they launched into their U2-on-steroids sounding opening number, it was clear as to how they'd advanced as far as they did in the recent DevCom Battle of the Bands. Their music was simple enough for a wide audience but complex enough to impress musically minded judges.
They quickly got the crowd up and dancing along to their funky, spacey rock tunes. With deep tight bass lines grooving under layers of echoing guitar and sweeping synth, their closing track reminded me of a young Jimmy Swift Band, with a more modern attitude and less heavy on the cheese. The vocals were pretty straightforward but with no flaws or weaknesses that I could hear, and the harmonies meshed perfectly. It's best not to judge a book by it's cover, and given their quirky dress and slightly award band name, I would have misjudged Alice Stops Time on appearances alone, but their nice mashup of different styles and tight presentation betrays their reality as a great band, and I look forward to hearing a great studio record from these guys.

Alice Stops Time - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 05 Alice Stops Time - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 06
Alice Stops Time - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 01
Alice Stops Time - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 02

No Flyers Please took the stage next, as Sharon's painting continued to near completion – I was especially pleased at the paintings within the painting as the Paragon is adorned with other great local visual artists – hoping this one makes it to the walls or at least to a loving home, given the venue's eminent demise.
As has often been mentioned, it's hard to write about bands that rock, because No Flyers Please do just that – get up, rock out, and get down. There's no flashy costumes, no long, eerie intros, no frills – just their continuing tradition of Punk Rock you can Dance To. The crowd swelled to it's largest and most active, as expected, for a set of new and classic NFP songs. Be sure to check out the band at some sweet upcoming gigs, including the Noisography Live Music and Photography Exhibit, and of course as part of the just announced line up for Evolve this year.

NFP - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 01
NFP - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 02
NFP - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 05
NFP - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 03
NFP - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 06

Finally two piece synth rockers Minus World took the stage. I'd seen these guys previously and was a little underwhelmed, but in retrospect the inadequate PA system at Gus' Pub was solely to blame. With the much beefier and fuller sounding PA at the Paragon, Minus World's backing tracks (played off a Nintendo DS, so much hipper than a bulky laptop) finally had the sound that the band intended, and the live drums and keytar flourishes on top were deliverws to much greater effect. Dirty electro vocals rounded out the now full sound, and the crowd, while thinned, danced and clapped along. These guys get my official “two piece bands that don't sound like crap” seal of approval.

Minus World - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 05 Minus World - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 01
Minus World - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 03
Minus World - May 4th 2011 - Paragon Theatre - 04

See all the photos from this show HERE.
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