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October 16-29
VOL.13 ISSUE. 4
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Chris Morin
Published Thursday November 15, 11:04 am
Toronto folkies find love in the UK

THE WOODEN SKY

Saturday 24

The Bassment

The Wooden Sky garnered plenty of praise and admiration in North America for their third full-length album, Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun, immediately after its February 2012 release, thanks to strong songwriting and incessant touring.

When the Toronto four-piece re-released the LP in Europe this fall, they got to experience that buzz all over again — which has frontman Gavin Gardiner both thankful and overjoyed.

“The response we’ve been getting on tour has been really overwhelming,” he says, noting that the band recently spent five weeks touring in Europe along with The Evening Hymns. “The album just came out in the UK recently, which has been interesting. Even though we went through the stage of releasing the album here in North America and did all the touring around that, which was around late winter, we got to see that newness again. When we were in Europe it was interesting seeing those reactions there through new eyes.”

On Every Child a Daughter, Gardiner and his bandmates craft a subdued-yet-spacious folk record, with rollicking indie folk-pop and plenty of off-kilter instrumentation that have struck a resounding chord with audiences. On songs like “Malibu Rum,” a choral section hums and haws along with Gardiner’s drawl, whose unique twang and slur elevate the band’s propensity for emotional expression.

It’s an excellent listen in either the living room or a live venue — although Gardiner cautions that audiences shouldn’t expect a faithful retelling of the recorded versions during the band’s live show.

“We record the songs and then live they take on a completely different energy,” he says, “and that energy changes from tour to tour. When we were in Europe, we were playing a quieter set and it was [closer] to the record — but when we got back we started playing more bars, so we had to figure out how to make the songs work in those venues. It’s probably what helps make everything so exciting and engaging as a performer.

“When you start performing songs you have to be able to sell them to the people listening.”

While Every Child a Daughter is still fairly fresh, Gardiner says The Wooden Sky already has plans for their next album — which will be another step on the journey, in his mind.

“We’re in a place in our career where we realize that each record we make is a piece of a greater puzzle,” he says. “When we first started making records, every album had to be everything to everyone, and now we get to see it as being a part of an overall arc.

“I’ve been trying to write a lot more during this last leg of the tour — I probably have about 25 or so songs for the next record,” he continues. “We’ve been on the road since July, and it’s been a crazy whirlwind, so I have to be able to make the time to write — if I don’t, I go crazy. So this has been a healthy process for me. It’s always been something of an escape, and the reality of my life is that I’m on tour so much: it’s always a bit of a struggle to work that into my daily life.”

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Wade’s World

GALLOWS

Monday 19

Louis’ Pub

When Ontario screamo pioneers Alexisonfire announced their demise in 2011, guitarist Wade MacNeil wasted no time getting back on stage with other projects. In addition to founding Black Lungs,MacNeil hopped on board with Gallows, a Watford, UK-based hardcore group, who were seeking a replacement for their original singer.

It might sound like a strange pairing, but it definitely worked: Gallows’ latest, self-titled album — their first recording with MacNeil — is among their strongest work to date.

“I was very involved with the songwriting,” he says. “It’s a lot of really violent-sounding songs that I’ve always wanted to do. The lyrics I brought to the album were arranged with the band, so it was a really collaborative process.”

Formed in 2005, Gallows built up a loyal following in the UK with a discordant blend of razor sharp guitars and screamy breakdowns. MacNeil’s influence on the new album is apparent, as the band has taken on new — and harsher — elements.

MacNeil will be kept busy with Alexisonfire’s farewell tour (which is happening across the UK, Brazil, Australia and Canada this December), but he doesn’t harbour any illusions that his old band has a future. He’s living in the moment — and for this moment, his loyalties lie with Gallows.

“I try and think about this as a day-by-day thing,” he says. “But [Gallows] are really proud of this record we just made and we are getting excited to plan for the future.

“It’s a lot of flying and because of that it’s definitely harder to make this all work,” he admits. “But we make it happen — and it never really feels real until I step off the plane and get on a stage. But now that we’re on the road so much it’s not really an issue: once we’re all together, we practice and we hit the road and play shows. It’s a band.”

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Back For The First Time

 

GOOD OLD WAR

Friday 23

The Odeon

It may be Good Old War’s first time in Saskatoon, but it hasn’t been for lack of trying — they just haven’t figured out how to get here until now.

Formed in 2008, the Philadelphia-based indie folk trio has kept busy since the release of their latest full-length album, Come Back As Rain, released in March of this year, with national tours and an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show (an experience that Good Old War guitarist Daniel Schwartz describes as “really cool — it was a big party back there!”). Now, the group will finally get to play the prairies, thanks to nabbing the opening slot for Xavier Rudd.

“We try and bring a big campfire sing-along to the live show. We want everyone to join in and have a really good time,” says Schwartz.

The songs on Come Back As Rain certainly give fans plenty of chance to do just that. Amidst sweeping melodies and lush guitar lines, the group’s vocal harmonies are pushed right to the forefront. Songs like “Calling Me Names” are arranged like proper radio hits, something that Schwartz says was intentional.

“This was the first chance we had to make an album the proper way,” says Schwartz. “There was pre-production to weed out all the best parts of the best songs. We had a chance to really comb through everything and collaborate on the lyrics. Then ,we went to the studio and did the album all in one sitting, and we had never really done that before.

“Because it was done live there are a lot of spontaneous parts, but we made sure that there were elements in the songwriting that were protected.”

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