In a city rich with culture as St. Catharines, deciding where to go on a Saturday evening is always a tedious decision. No matter where you go, you’re bound to be missing out on something else that’s just as great. On Saturday night, Warehouse did well to remedy those fears, by giving its patrons three of the most promising young rock acts in a single night.
First up we have Neighbouring, a young band from St Catharines. Though only a four-piece group, their sound was huge and pulled from a variety of influences. Their rhythm guitarist brings post-rock, shoegaze-esque ambience to their sound, and their lead guitarist brings an almost country twang to the mix. Both are backed up by a hugely energetic rhythm section, and all work as a powerful vehicle for their frontman’s lush vocal work. The band also employed a brilliant use of dynamics throughout their set. Songs would build to a climax then fall back down to a lone guitar at the drop of a hat. It helped keep the energy alive in a performance that was already bristling with electricity. Their setlist was short, but it was a brilliant display of their energy and talents. If you want a taste of what Neighbouring has to offer, their original track ‘Morning Light’ is currently available on Bandcamp, and a debut EP is currently in the works.
Following soon after came Ivory Hours, a Toronto based alt-pop group. Ivory Hours released the full length album Dreamworld in June, and their setlist on the evening seamlessly blended those new tracks with material from Morning Light, the LP which made their name. Their sound is lively and full of surprises. At the band’s core is a distinct pop-rock sound, reminiscent of The 1975. Layered on top of that are otherworldly synths, some tasteful two-part vocal harmonies and U2-esque walls of ambient guitar. That ambient guitar comes courtesy of front man Luke Roes, who dedicates just as much time to his inimitable guitar talents as he does to his heartfelt vocals. His playing bounces perfectly off of the unique textures provided by rhythm guitarist/keyboard player Chris Levesque, their interplay taking the band to great heights. All of this backed up by a powerful beat, laid down by Thomas Perquin. His great sense of rhythm makes the band groove in a way that’s rarely seen in similar acts. All of these individual qualities amount to a great performance from a band with even better chemistry, and their efforts were rewarded by an incredibly energetic crowd.
Two tough acts to follow Neighbouring brought a lot of fun and energy to the stage, and Ivory Hours built on that with the experienced sheen of a pop-music production. When Eleven North took the stage to close the night, they brought all of the energy and experience with them, but they also brought a very different vibe with them. The Niagara based rockers’ catalogue is a little heavier and a little moodier than the preceding acts, calling to mind the likes of July Talk or City and Colour. The band released the eight-track Words from the Wise last year, but this September marks the beginning of the next musical project.
“Kids don’t want to listen to a twelve track LP anymore’” explained frontman Andrew Reinhardt during the band’s soundcheck. In a tactical maneuver to combat shortening attention spans, the band’s new LP Three Years has been split into a series of shorter EPs. ‘Three songs, every three months, for a year’ is the plan. The first volume was released on September 16, and the night’s setlist included all three tracks, as well as previews of tracks for the upcoming second volume.
It takes bravery to take to the stage with almost entirely new songs, but it doesn’t hurt Eleven North’s stride in the slightest. Even in their soundcheck, the tiniest details were tweaked, and their performance married that precision with a brilliantly moody atmosphere, and energy that shook the walls of the venue. The indisputable highlight of the evening was ‘The Feeling’, the opening track from Three Years, Vol 1, a testament to everything the band is. The perfect, cathartic end to a night full of fantastic music.
Eleven North, Ivory Hours and Neighbouring all have Facebook pages to stay up to date on upcoming shows and new releases. Eleven North and Ivory Hours’ material are available to stream on Spotify, and Ivory Hours’ catalogue is available to purchase from both iTunes and Bandcamp. Check them out!