Sleeper Set Sail @ El Mocambo
Entering the El Mocambo was like walking into your best friend's living room. At one time, you were uncomfortable and unsure, but after going there so many times, the place becomes a second-home.
Many seats were empty when St.Catharines' melodic drone rockers Sleeper Set Sail took the stage. Lead singer Mike DaSilva told the audience he was suffering from back pain and then went on explaining a bizarre story about when he went to a masseuse. "I hate to be one of those bands who tell stories about farts, but I was really comfortable being massaged."
Sleeper Set Sail has a good stage presence and looked like they were having tons of fun, guitarist Casey Baker, bassist Trevor Speechly, and DaSilva jumped all over the stage as if they were dodging thrown hand grenades. During many guitar solos, Baker and Speechly could have collided, however, with the energy this band plays with, no wonder they lose control.
Underneath the hard rock resonance of blaring guitars and Tom Van De Ende's smashing on the drums, DaSilva sings quiet, meaningful lyrics. Even though I could only catch a few phrases here or there, I was fascinated with the words I heard. It would be satisfying to hear all of the lyrics, but Sleeper Set Sail is all about melodic ruckus and feeling the music. In the beginning of the song "Patterns In Your Dash", DaSilva sings, "If these occurrences between us were a motion picture/ It would be the kind you're forced to view twice."
There is more behind Sleeper Set Sail than what meets the eye. With all of the ups and downs of tempos, they bring together an entertaining rock show.
Raising the Fawn @ El Mocambo
Eager music fans showed up at the El Mocambo by midnight just in time to watch Raising The Fawn. A review in Exclaim! said Raising The Fawn were boring performers. I have to disagree. In order to appreciate their live scene, there must be a connection made with the music itself.
While watching Raising The Fawn, it was difficult comprehending three people could play such compelling music without a second guitar player. Lead singer John Crossingham, who also plays in Broken Social Scene, has a beautiful, powerful voice much like Thom Yorke's of Radiohead and Jim Cuddy's of Blue Rodeo.
Most of Raising The Fawn's music has heavy bass lines surrounded by folk-like guitar riffs, sometimes with distortion or extensive guitar picking. Bassist Scott Remila sang backup vocals and elevated the pitch of Crossingham's well-known "Ah-ooo". Crossingham shows the dedication he has for his band by the way his emotions come out in each song. "Gwendolyn", "Home", and "The North Sea" were played with such intensity.
Even when the tempo is slow, there is an engaging element to Raising The Fawn's stage presence. You don't want to look away or take a sip of your drink; instead you want to watch Raising The Fawn do what they do best, which is bring forth a whole new emotion for the audience to feel.
Raising The Fawn's newest album "The North Sea" isn't easy to describe, but not one track makes you feel the same.
Writer: Mindi St. Amand