Editorial – Amber Waves; Photography – J.J. Deogracias
One of the best parts of this festival experience for me as a music enthusiast is having my “Indie Music Virgin” Joe along for the ride as my trusty camera guy. Not only does it take pressure off me in photography skills (I run as our secondary camera), but I get to watch him experience talented bands of all genres, thus broadening his tastes. Our first stop of the night was the Painted Lady, a cozy bar with the BEST DAMN PULLED PORK EVER (yes, it deserves all-caps). It turned out that Joe’s Queen necklace was prophetic…
“They’re kind of like the blonde White Stripes,” Joe says in his first astute music assessment of the night.
It’s an automatic comparison with Oshawa’s The Standstills, a band comprised of guitarist Jonny Fox and drummer Renee Couture. The two-piece, gritty blues-rock band falls neatly into a similar box as Jack White’s former band. However, there’s one key difference: Renee can drum circles and possibly more complex geographic shapes around Meg White. The difference is palpable: every belted note is accented with tremendous force, unrelenting and enthralling. The chemistry between the two also lends further cohesion to their sound, allowing them to create the illusion of a standard four-piece band on their own. Not even bronchitis could hold this band back as they flew through stellar tracks off their latest album, Pushing Electric and their trademark cover of classic tune “Black Betty”.
The Standstills are kind of like skinny dipping or karaoke: a mandatory life experience. One that I intend to repeat frequently.
Before meeting my future Mister Waves, I had no idea just how many subgenres of metal existed. True story: Viking Folk Metal? Hadn’t heard of it. Reggae Metal? Baffled until I heard (and loved) it.
While metal and hard rock have always been diverse and, to a degree, theatrical, I have to suggest that Incura have carved out a new tier of that marriage of flash and dramatic gesture accompanying the thrashing guitars and belted vocals one expects on the surface. In a world where the mainstream prefers everything in neat, ideally identical boxes, Incura defies all convention. Elements of everything from Black Sabbath to Queen to cabaret and opera thread through their songs and with the powerful vocals of frontman Kyle Gruninger steering the ship, Incura can’t help but conquer the sea of eagerly bobbing heads.
It’s rare when a band catches me completely off guard in a positive way, so take heed, potential listeners: Incura is a band to see, never mind hear.
Don’t forget: sharing the indie music word is one way to enter our CMW Giveaway! Details here.
Much more to come in our Farewell to CMW 2013, coming next week!