Oliver Black

Artist: Oliver Black
Published: 2004-02-26

It ain't Back in Black or Painted Black, but the Oliver Black buzz is the raving Rock N' Roll revival we've all been waiting for.

Busting onto stage last Friday night at the BSide with Where I Am, the Oliver Black quartet magnetized the audience closer, as platinum blond lead singer, Serena Pruyn, belted out full-ranged raspy vocals, in line with the likes of Canadian 'has-beens' Sass Jordan and Alannah Myles, but with 'real' rampant rock vigor and a hell of a lot more style.

"We play good rock n' roll music that is honest," Pruyn coos. "Rock was never dead…it just needed someone to play it right," pipes in backbone bassist Greg Zack, Guinness in hand at Queen West's Bishop and Belcher pub.

Pruyn, just 21-years-old, gives it all she's got throughout a set, her vital vocals immortal, as she struts around the stage in tight red and black flared pants, wrist bands, a studded belt, and lightening bolt Cinderella black, belly-bearing tank top. She pauses only to strike a pose, flicking her hips, arching her back, outstretching her arms, and flinging her hair violently across her face. (Did I mention Mick is an influence?) Pruyn's only gentle gesture…snuggling up to Zack, who raises his bass up to his shoulders. If Oliver Black's 'head mistress' hasn't received attention from feverish fans yet, she's about to.

"For me, it is about the mental state…the attitude…I love being on stage. It is the best feeling in the world," admits Pruyn.

The 10-song set whirled by with more and more, and then more, of Nicolas Lesyk's thrashing guitar riffs, that even his teeth played, and Allan Colavecchia's bashing, far from background, award winning, drumbeats. Pruyn wrapped it up with State of Muse, yet another rock n' roll rant, leaving the crowd clamoring for more, as she modestly left the stage and lugged the band's gear downstairs.

"Playing in a bigger town there are more people who want to listen to your music, who are not afraid to act out and take risks with you. Right now we are trying to build a buzz and just love playing," says Pruyn. "We have a fucking ball up there," stresses Zack.

Derived out of three separate Southern Ontario bands in 2002, under the influence of rock legends, the Stones and Led Zeppelin, Oliver Black hit the Toronto music scene, moving from the small town live club and university circuit to a sold out show at the Rivoli and studio performance at 102.1 The Edge. Festivals like Canadian Music Week and North By North East are now in line, following tense time in the studio writing, rehearsing and recording for an upcoming EP release.

"We have people who believe in us and make sacrifices. We are not far off…we all want this really badly," says Pruyn. "I always think of the Dave Matthews Way…we will become so popular that record companies will come to us," imagines Zack

Check out Oliver Black March 5 at Club 279 during Canadian Music Week and visit www.oliverblackmusic.com.

Writer: Sophie Nicholls

Photo:Sophie Nicholls

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