Niagara is not the only booming music scene in Southern Ontario, though it may be one of the best, Windsor, Toronto and Hamilton all contribute to the greater scene as well. The Ocean Cure, a post-hardcore band out of Oakville and Toronto has been touring all over Southern Ontario for the past two years, collecting exciting stories and slowly experiencing the community present across all of the regions.
March 18 was The Ocean Cure’s first show in St. Catharines and it was the final date on Miami-based experimental post-hardcore legends, I Set My Friends On Fire’s Canadian five date tour with Glass Houses, and Her Majesty the King, plus The Fractured, Past the Verge, and Ocular Trauma joining the loaded bill at Detour Music Hall.
The Ocean Cure consists of singer, Pauline Taylor, bassist and unclean-vocalist Casius Muto-Wray, guitar and vocalist Mike Di Monte and drummer Nicola Sudano. Despite this being their first St. Catharines gig, they are very familiar with the Niagara scene.
Taylor said “way back in the day, like two years ago at this point, [we] did a photo shoot, our first promo photos for this band, in this venue and it turned out amazing. With Kevin Unger from the area, and I have been to many shows, in this area.”
“I’ve been to lots of shows out here but this is the first time that I’ve played” added Muto-Wray.
The band has been touring for two years but before that, The Ocean Cure was an acoustic duo fronted by Taylor with former member Nick Baskerville, who is still a good friend of the band.
“We were around for a year, maybe a little more, looking for band members, we released a few songs during those days and then we found more people” she said.
“I had known Nick from one of old bands that I had played with,” said Muto-Wray describing his journey joining the band. “Actually, the last show with that band was also the last show with his old band, I’m pretty sure, and it’s really weird how that happened and then we ended up in another band together, which is kind of cool.”
Since then, the band has grown into a bigger part of the Toronto scene and their goal is to foster a community connection. Taylor even refers to the band’s fans as the “T.O.C. Family.” This loving attitude is prevalent in their lyrics as well which she describes as being about overcoming obstacles and showcasing and celebrating strengths within themselves and others.
“Whenever we play shows we are almost always amongst friends, we never play a show where we are like ‘ah, we don’t know anybody here,’ we kind of like show up and it’s like ‘eh, good to see you again’” explained Muto-Wray.
“Everybody is so talented and so nice too and I feel deep sentimental connection to belonging to this community and even if the venue is completely empty, which happens, because the Toronto and Ontario music scen,” Taylor added.
The band’s guitarist, Mike Di Monte says that Toronto has a great scene but it could use some reviving.
“I feel like the smaller towns like St. Catharines and Hamilton have great shows. The small towns seem to appreciate the local shows more,” he continued.
Taylor notes how much they have enjoyed playing the Windsor scene as well, even though last time they were there, with I Set My Friends On Fire they had a bit of a hard time.
“I almost died that night, I had to bow out of the show because I got super sick. We laugh at it now because I didn’t die. We were driving up and every 20/30 minutes I was like ‘guys, we need to stop for a minute.’ Mike had to step up and fill in on bass for me that night” said Muto-Wray.
The Ocean Cure is an excellent example of a touring band from Southern Ontario, representing the scene and playing all of it’s cities, small and large, uncovering hidden gems and working with their historic scenes.