On the advice of a good friend, I trucked on down to Live on Elgin on Wednesday last to take in Oshawa duo Crown Lands. Teamed up with Ottawa heavy-rockers Onionface and Trunk, these three nuclear-energy bands served up one hell of a monster night of full-tilt Rock&Roll and manic Psychedelic Rock.
Trunk blasted open the night with an as yet unrecorded tune, Keep Your Head Above Water (How Not To Die In Rio), then slid right into the bending phrases of Kevin Spacey From 21 from their latest album, Pachydermous Trunkadelic. Heavy reverb resounded through the room as the opening strains of Floyd’s Armada brought the pace down just a bit to a smoother psychedelic rolling tempo.
Cranking up the voltage again with the atmospheric ringing guitar arpeggios which open Secondhand Euphoria, Mike Holuj (guitar), Robert Chapman (keyboards), Stefan Jurewicz (drums), and, Jordan Edgecombe (bass) drove like a Sherman tank on steroids into the pachydermous-paced New King Hi-fi and then the walking bass of Shangri-Lost & Found. In closing their set with the spaced-out instrumental, The Concoctionist, the mood was set for what continued to be one wicked night of ground-pounding Rock&Roll.
Crown Lands then took to the stage, hitting the crowd with Being Right, the lead number off their Mantra EP and just blew the audience away right from the first chord with some of the meanest heaviest monster-feedback sound on this good green earth.
Together only for one year, Cody Bowles (lead vocals, drums) and Kevin Comeau (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals) have a stage presence worthy of veteran bamds. Kevin is pretty well in constant motion on stage which just pumps their audience up more on top of the foundation-crushing bass and drum you felt rumbling across the floor of Live on Elgin. Cody’s voice, reminicent of some of the finer 60’s ‘n’ 70’s hard rock bands, sails above the growling music with confidence and biting attack.
After charging through the bluesy Sweet Avalon and the scorching title song of their EP, Mantra, Crown Lands pulled out five songs they haven’t recorded yet (hinting at another album in the works?) including Big River Road, a slower tune, more Rock than Metal, and Leatherman’s Blues. Cody and Kevin closed their performance with Penny, a well-crafted instrumental that intros with some fine LedZep-style fingerpicking periodically interjected by the drums, then rolls into pulverizing drumwork and heavy chording interspersed with bursts of thermogenic lead phrases.
If you haven’t had the chance to see Crown Lands yet, you can catch them this Saturday (Sept. 3rd) at Labour Day weekend Maynooth Madness Fest as they wrap up their East Coast Tour. They will also be at the Hard Luck in Toronto on Sept. 29th.
So, it’s in between sets and I am chatting with some other musicians on the other side of the club when the strains of a familiar song blisters out of the speakers. Rounding the bar to see the stage again, here’s Onionface guitarist Stefan Jurewicz grinding out a wicked solo rendition of ‘My Generation’ by The Who.
With the crowd pumped and cheering, Stefan broke into a new song, Grace Kelly, which just raised the temperature a few more hundred degrees. As the final notes faded, Calvin McCormick and Jon Schultz were onstage and Onionface tore into the bottom-end bass and elephantine drumming pace of Buzzed On Javex and then right into Alien Baby with Stefan ripping out some smokin’ solo guitar.
These hard-hitting psychedelic grunge-rockers ramped up the heat with songs from both their Live At The Glue Pot album and Demos EP. Masters of ‘the groove’, they rolled out heady renditions of Remember When (We Used To Rock&Roll) and Tight Rope Walker, the slow smoldering Blues-washed The Wolf, and the weighty tramp of Ramblin’.
This loaded night of superb planet-splitting Rock&Roll that saw the stage at Live on Elgin cooking with the mammoth music of Trunk and Crown Lands culminated in Onionface carving out a badass extended version of Birdman that crescendoed in a reverb-gorged tsunami of psychedelic feedback.
Do I want to see these three bands together again?
Crown Lands – Mantra….