Show OVERVIEW: Rain Over St. Ambrose EP Release

Rain Over St. Ambrose
Rain Over St. Ambrose EP Release
The Seahorse Tavern 
October 7th 2011 
Review & Photos by Stan Béland
Video by Dan Nightingale

God bless Nova Scotia. Seriously. God frickin bless it. There is so much talent here, so much untapped, under appreciated musicianship that I could literally cry, if only my tear ducts hadn’t been medically removed years ago. Crying breeds weakness.

October 7th 2011, I saw three pretty fantastic bands take the stage at the Seahorse Tavern. The Space Age, Rain Over St. Ambrose, and The Town Heroes all put on a pretty great show. And can we all give a hearty “heck yes” to the Seahorse? Damn I love that bar, the music is almost entirely awesome, all the time, the staff rocks, it’s juuuuust dank enough to make you feel like a barstool regular and Horsepower is God’s gift to cheap beer drinkers. Huzzah to you, Seahorse.

Up first, The Space Age. A project made up of the moving parts from various well-known local bands, the best known of which is front man Andy Patil’s previous project, Matt Mays and El Torpedo. While The Space Age fancy themselves a modern interpretation of Thin Lizzy, The Stones and the Replacements, there is something much more raw, much less…focused then the bands they mention in their bio. A more apt description would be a somewhat slower version of Ramones-style punk mixed with some good old-fashioned rock and roll. Patil’s vocals suit the music for the most part, aping Gord Downie and Axel Rose’s sedated lovechild. The vocals, though, do fall a little flat when compared to the fairly awesome chord progressions and tightness of the rest of the music the band presents. Overall, The Space Age is a solid three-piece rock/punk/prog band; if the vocals got a bit louder, a touch angrier and a smidgen grittier, they might be onto something.
The Space Age
The Space AgeThe Space Age

Next was Rain Over St. Ambrose, but we’ll get to them in a moment.
Closing out the night was The Town Heroes, two Capers that have done pretty damn well for themselves. Fresh off a plane from Germany, Mike Ryan and Bruce Gillis sounded a little worse for wear between songs, but left nothing to be desired once the music started. Half blues inspired White Stripes-ish rock, half stadium anthems, The Town Heroes sounded like they should have been on a much bigger stage with a much bigger crowd. Filling the room with a wall of sound, the duo had no problem commanding the crowd’s attention with big riffs, great songwriting and an energy the belied their obvious jetlag.
The Town Heroes
The Town HeroesThe Town Heroes

And now, back to Rain Over St. Ambrose.
As a music lover, concert and album reviewer, and musician I listen to a metric fuckton of new music. It’s kinda rare that a performer, band, album, or song takes me by surprise the way that Rain Over St. Ambrose did. Looking like a fairly ragtag crew of dudes before the bar filled up, the ROSA soundcheck was a fairly haphazard event. This made me think that this was going to be a fairly shite show. I was wrong. Dead wrong. Wronger then anyone has ever been. Ever. Forever.

The pure and unrelenting energy that literally bursts out of lead singer Cory LeBlanc is downright amazing to see. Mixing the off-hand hilarity and physical appearance of a bro-ed out version of Jack Black ,and the vocal intensity of someone like Mike Paffi of Bear Vs Shark, LeBlanc was a whirlwind onstage. Half joker, half advertisement for Cathartics Anonymous, you could tell that LeBlanc’s lyrics were coming from a wounded place in his life. Lines like “You took a lot out of me,” which LeBlanc SCREAMED out from a foot away from the mic, and “I hope she loves me as much as I love her” show a man that has learned, or at least is learning, from his mistakes. And while LeBlanc was certainly the visual force of the band, all members contributed equally to the sound. Taking a special place in my heart was Matt Amirault; I haven’t seen a drummer beat his drums like that in a while. It was like they owed him money.
Rain Over St. AmbroseRain Over St. Ambrose
Rain Over St. Ambrose
Rain Over St. AmbroseRain Over St. Ambrose

Strangely though, for all the physicality and vocal rage onstage, Rain Over St. Ambrose’s sound is one of updated country and classic rock. The deceivingly simple drum patterns and guitar work, updated with synth and super solid bass playing all came together to make music that we’ve heard before, but maybe not with this kind of emotion behind it. LeBlanc really seemed to be baring his soul onstage, working out demons that only a few of us have the courage to face. I’m excited to see these guys again, soon. And, for the first time since joining the Noisography crew, I bought the EP of the band I was reviewing. I have been listening to it non-stop. If that’s not a glowing endorsement, then I don’t know what is.



Anonymous said...

*luke amirault is the name of the drummer

Anonymous said...

Rain Over St. Ambrose are easily the best new band this side of Montreal, or maybe even nation wide. Truly a band every music lover NEEDS to see live. Their music grips you in a way most bands would dream of and they haven't even released a full length yet. Keep on rockin on fellas you do Nova Scotia proud.

Anonymous said...

I saw this band for the first time not long ago and can't stop listening to their stuff. Exceptional live, and producers of music that moves you even when listening to recorded versions. We're lucky to have them!