In my final reviews of the festival, I take a look at the three bands I dragged my rather injured body out to see. I regret nothing – but you should regret not checking them out. Read on to learn why.
Crowns For Convoy
A last-minute addition to the NXNE line-up at Rancho Relaxo, Crowns For Convoy have been working hard at honing their craft since 2010, the culmination of that work being their CD release party scheduled for this summer at the infamous Hugh’s Room. Theirs is a tasty, folk-tinged rock, melodic and heavily layered in acoustic guitars. Sprawling jams within tracks and a soulful funk undercurrent immediately reminded me of Dave Matthews Band, which I later learned is one of many influences of theirs. I get a sense of nostalgia while listening to their work, which isn’t to call it dated, but rather, a true alternative rock reminiscent of the days when it was something very distinct from rock, pop and prog. Perfect late-night music for drinking with a few friends. Recommended.
Highly recommended to me by the lovely Cynthia of High Heels Lo Fi, Goodnight, Sunrise is one hell of a musical enigma – and an enthralling one! The band itself refers to its genre as “Indie Soul Metal Rock Pop Prog” and you know what? They’re not wrong. Primarily a melding of metal and classic rock (ZZ Top meets Heart), Goodnight, Sunrise delivers a high energy set that encourages a party – on stage with them, if they have their way. Call and response harmonies between vocalists Vanessa and David adds a freshness to their performance. Lyrically, the band primarily sticks to the timeless classic themes, although that prog-soul element emerges on more politically charged numbers that never feel like a lecture, but rather a spirited missing track from the soundtrack of Hair. As a musical junkie, that’s a compliment.
Grab a drink, get on the floor and dance, damn it! Highly recommended.
Amos The Transparent
With an ensemble the size of Ottawa’s Amos The Transparent and the strings in the mix, it’s likely hard for this band to dodge the comparisons to Arcade Fire. Even I couldn’t help but consider the thought of a similar sound, which led to great anticipation. While superficially there are many similarities between the two – harmonies; the ability to move between hard rocking songs and ethereal low-key numbers – Amos The Transparent manages to carve out a sound all its own.
Bluesy-rock elements of the Sam Roberts or Chris Robinson persuasion provide the skeletal structure for their songs, with sneak attacks of hard rocking guitar that conjure up the divide between Alexisonfire and City and Colour. Sprawling numbers and extended jammed stretches carry the band into the realm of the so-called “California rock” sound of The Eagles – another band with a strong and capable grasp of shifting between straight-out rock and soft, reflective work. Live, the band is tight yet playful, and the audience is drawn into that joie de vivre via raucous spontaneous sing-alongs.
A band that has grown and evolved, Amos The Transparent is definitely one to watch, and made for an amazing cap to a fantastic week of music and film. Highly recommended.