This was my first time seeing SC Mira. I was outside when their set started, and I came in to the sounds and feel of something different than what I expected. Not that I had much expectation. But this band, fronted by two strong women, was walking a fine line between folk and rock.
Sadye Cage, singing and on guitar, had this look of a pop punk princess who’d dipped herself into a style of goth. Her voice had a classic folk tune, conveying something that could have been backed with fiddles and slide guitar. Instead, rock riffs pummelled through her melodies with carrying a stronger tone.
The music was loud that night (as it tends to get at The Good Will) and I think that shifted their tone a bit. Listening to their album after the fact sounds neater, cleaner and more reminiscent of a band like Boy and Bear. They’re mixing the folk tone, lilting melodies with a feminine vocal lead with the guts and grit of riffy guitar writing.
Seeing them live offered something really different. The delicacy of Sadye’s feminine tone burst into a full-blown lead, driving each melody along with the band.
As performers, these guys were a treat. In terms of tunes, I’m not huge on the typical folky alternative tone. It’s pleasant, catchy and nice to listen to. I could see myself driving down the no. 7 to Winnipeg Beach in a car full of friends, heads bobbing along, singing to SC Mira. I sense the sensation of sun on my skin at the strummy sounds of acoustic in the background of their recorded tracks. But live, they played a different show. And performance played a big part.
They appeared more punk than I can hear now. They played with energy that a recording can’t capture. You could see the grit and gore behind the scenes, between the musicians and through their musical conversation. The guitar tones filled the room. They sounded more raw, and as Sadye sang and spread her arms and moved around, each musician seemed to dig right into their instruments.
I’ll admit I had more fun taking pictures than dancing this time around. The dancefloor was packed. This was probably one of the most varied crowds I’ve seen at The Good Will — I had a number of friends there, and then there was a number of older folk there (by older, I mean mid-late 30s), and even some parents and maybe grandparents? All around, it seemed like a major community affair. Pipe and Hat announced a handful of new projects, and you could tell by the setup that they got funding. Funding! The great thing musicians don’t usually have…
I think SC Mira was a great pick for this show. They got people moving and dancing before Bright Righteous went on. They brought a complex, strange and engaging mood to the room. Seeing these guys live was much different than listening to their studio album, in the way that makes me want to selectively see them live just for the performance.
Also extra props to the front ladies for taking space in this “boys club” of a scene.
I saw then-called the Revival (now Bright Righteous) play at the Pride events at The Forks this summer. That’s when I realized that my drum teacher happened to be one of the most phenomenal drummers I’ve seen perform.
I was a bit surprised to see Scott play in such a straight rock band, but that’s because I was more familiar with Ralph, which is ridiculously upbeat, funky and geared to moving your feet. I wasn’t disappointed, though. Listening to Bright Righteous reminded me of my being 16, driving around with my friends listening to G n R, Alice in Chains and other gritty classic rock.
I was actually pretty literally transported back in my memories at this show. Turns out I knew the Pipe and Hat sound guy, Matt Boyer. And man I was not surprised to see him work that show once Bright Righteous came on.
I gotta start with the singer. His voice is so, so 80’s to me. I feel like he’s preserved a style and slice of time simultaneously. And, even though I’m not much of an 80’s fan (I really dig the 60’s, 70’s, 90’s, but for some reason the 80’s doesn’t speak to me like that), I can really respect what quality he’s bringing to his audiences. Many people come to mind who I bet would love to know this sound is coming through in brand new music. That this style of singing is still present in the new music scene. He’s got guts. He’s got that thin, strained rasp to his voice that my friend Evan drank much whiskey and smoked many cigarettes in search of.
And he’s got the hair to match. Bonus points. I wonder if that adds to his tone?
The rest of the band was super tight. They’re just clean enough — tight in the right spots, crisp on each beat, and gritty in tone. Gritty. I’ve used that word too much. It’s like the feel of pavement when you fall slowly off your bike for the first time. It’s like a glass of Jack Daniels that your asshole friend accidentally ashed into but didn’t tell you, so you drank it anyways. But a bit sweeter. It’s that texture with intention.
I recognize a lot of the progressions these guys used. It has the build, beat and consistent song structure of hard rock. Especially this single, Tell Me What You Know About Love, has that pause – sing – then drum beat. If I could type this beat to you I would. What I liked most was their particular control. They know their dynamics, their builds, their bridges and where each part of the song leads. It’s classic, this structure they use, but they do it well. It reminds me of the days where I wanted to hear new music played like old music. Where I wished Zeppelin and Guns n’ Roses were still making music, or like someone my age was doing it that way.
I’m typically into more experimental stuff. But I could really enjoy this show partly because of the musicianship (man you guys are really on top of your shit — great production value, clean, skills, tight, woo!) and partly because of nostalgia. It seriously reminded me of my first cigarettes and falling in love over bottles of Jim Bean and Jack Daniels.
With a sound this big, I could easily picture these guys playing a stadium. I can see 20-some year olds in ripped, patched black denim vests with shoulder length hiar and a pierced eyebrow dancing around. I can see 50-some year olds in ripped flannels and leather jackets double-fisting overfull plastic cups of beer. I can see an audience letting loose and feeling alive.
Big ups on getting funding, by the way. It seems like if your sound can match that of a good marketing strategy, your venue may always be full. And may it be.