Double the Shots with Royal Canoe and The Liptonians at The Horseshoe Tavern

Royal Canoe and The Liptonians @ The Horseshoe, 03-09-11
[Pictured above: Royal Canoe and The Liptonians minus Levi Penner]

Date of show: March 8, 2011

UK’s The Lines, proudly from Wolverhampton, opened up the night. The band is comprised of Alex Ohms (vocals, guitar), Dean Bate (guitar, electronic drums), Danny Pease (bass), and Dave O’Connor (drums). This show, a warm-up to Canadian Music Fest, was their first show in Canada, though not their first time across the pond, as they had a great stint at CMJ in New York last year.

The crowd was pretty sparse at this point, but The Lines never let down their energy. Seemingly grateful to be playing in Canada, the band delivered as though the room was full. Ohms’ engaging vocals remains a highlight, but The Lines’ tunes are layered with harmonies and a ton of percussion, both electronic and drum-based, that really drive their sound. Their Brit rock sound is infectious and danceable and, had they been given a later set time, they likely would have had the crowd dancing. The band went on to play 4 more times in the city for Canadian Music Week and hopefully the crowd was a little warmer then; they deserved as much energy in return for theirs.

Likely my favourite band of the night, Royal Canoe delivered an honest and captivating performance. Royal Canoe, a 6-piece from Winnipeg, is made up of Matt Peters (vocals, keys, acoustic guitar), Bucky Driedger (electric guitar, vocals), Matt Schellenberg (keys, vocals), Joey Penner (bass, keys, vocals), Derek Allard (drums), and Michael Jordan (electronic drums). There are intricacies in their tunes, with the layers of keys, percussion, harmonies and a ton of effects, all coming together to form a sort of organized chaos.

“Nightcrawlin’” just about gave me chills. It’s a little trippy with the voicebox, but, more importantly, it showcases Peters’ incredibly strong stage presence. Much of the crowd seemed particularly into this song, but this could be attributed to the recent release of their video for the song. But this band isn’t a one trick pony, as their whole set was full of falsetto goodness and entrancing musicianship. All in all, this performance absolutely blew me away.

Acres of Lions, a pop rock band from Victoria, was next on stage. The band is made up of Jeff Kalesnikoff (vocals, guitar), Tyson Yerex (guitar, keys, vocals), Dan Ball (bass, vocals) and Lewis Carter (drums). The tunes are likeable and fun, with Kalesnikoff and his smooth vocals at the forefront. Acres of Lions managed to have much of the crowd sing along with a few of their catchy tunes. When playing “Dance Sequence,” Kalesnikoff was encouraging backflips (and other breakdancing moves) from the crowd, much like in their video for the song. It was a great energetic performance, though perhaps a little out of place from the rest of the lineup.

Also hailing from Winnipeg, The Liptonians‘ dynamic was great to see live. Comprising the band are Bucky Driedger (vocals, electric/acoustic guitar), Matt Schellenberg (vocals, piano, reed organ), Michael Jordan (drums, vocals), Mitch Braun (electric guitar, hammond organ, autoharp), and Levi Penner (bass, vocals). It is amazing how two bands from the same general area sharing three common members and a bunch of common instruments can sound so different. Where Royal Canoe is an organized chaos with the use of a lot of effects, The Liptonians is an organized chaos of instrumentation, with the piano (rather than keys) being a particular highlight.

The Liptonians closed out the night with a crowd that was happy with a solid night of music. The harmonies really stand out on songs like, “Hey! Hey! Help Is On Its Way!” and “Growing Old in the City,” the latter being almost brooding and group chant-like. Their piano-driven pop rock tunes put a little kick in your step, which is a great way to end off the night, if you ask me.

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Categories: Live Music


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