Uniter Fiver: TUSK

Okay guys I gotta start off by sharing that I wrote this whole post, and then my shitty internet connection deleted the whole thing. This time around, it’ll probably be shorter, thanks to this deadline and my own crazy work schedule.

Now to commence writing in frustration.

Uniter Fiver

So this is an annual event that the University of Winnipeg’s school paper puts on tho showcase some new local talent. Every year some bands get nominated by people for this contest, I guess it is? And then people vote on bands based on a track they submit and the whole while they get some promotion and the promise of a guaranteed show at the end, if they get votes.

It seems like a bit of a healthy competition. I’m not sure what the prize is, other than this show, but alas, I maybe don’t need to know? Kakagi won this round, but local alt-rock band TUSK played and I’ve been hearing of them for a couple months now so I wanted to put some words out on them.


the band



They’re grunge-influenced. I could hear that right away. And it made me smile a bit inside. They appealed immediately to my inner angsty teen, the same one that loved listening to Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots and Mudhoney and Mother Love Bone and Temple of the Dog.

There’s grit and dirt in their sound. They have that classic chuggy distorted guitar riff thing going on that feels very grunge. But then they bring in this greater feel for songwriting and melody.



It’s interesting to hear the combination of what my brain is used to as grunge, and the artful light tones of the lead guitar that brings a degree of alternative, even hipster songwriting into the mix. It brightens up the song, offers direction, and helps create that storyline feel people love (in everything always I swear people love a story.)

you can hear builds and some dynamic shifts and gentle stops and starts in a few of their songs. It’s a bit less wall-of-sound than grunge can typically be, though the flavour of grunge influence never leaves their tone.


Brother Brett

They have an interesting combonation of tone like that, of the grimey drudge of grunge, with a bright leading note of alternative rock. Like The Killers alternative. It’s like the old beater your uncle gives you as your first car. Gritty, dirty, probably smells a lot like cigarettes, except the rims. Those are polished. So it sparkles a bit as it drives past, bringing a light touch to a heavy motion and possibly angry sounding song.

The second half of their set didn’t grab me as much as the first. I think it was a shift in vocals and songwriting. It felt like it moved slightly towards hardcore or punk influences. More aggressive. Less tactful with the overlaying melodies. More yelling.


Brother Tyler

So this band has brothers in it. I’m always curious about bands who have brothers, because those people are siblings and there’s a good chance they grew up together. They probably shared an instrument at some point. They probably got yelled at together and broke rules together and told on each other and suffered through some awkward family dinners together and inevitably have probably become closer to each other than I could be with a person who isn’t my family. So when there are siblings making music together, it peaks my curiosity.


These guys sounded really tight. They’re a fairly new band I think, but their sound is very well put together and thoughtful and you can tell they’ve either practiced a ton or have great chemistry. Or both. I wonder what sort of dialogue comes through songwriting for ther Hesford boys. I want to know if they’ve been jamming together for long, or if the getting into music is a new thing, or what. It’d be neat to see how being related contributes to musical chemistry, and maybe why TUSK has been on the rise since forming.


guitarist’s faces man, I tell ya… 

It was interesting how they set up on the stage, too. The bassist was in the front. Front and centre. And I don’t think he was singing. The two guitarists and vocalists flanked him, but somehow he managed to get that leadership spot. Does this mean he’s a heavy creative influence for the group? Or just that everyone follows the rhythm section, like they should, because that’s what carries the beat and the dynamic control of the song? Would the drums be in the middle too if that were an option?

They were an interesting show, and I’m hoping to see TUSK again. Maybe my inner angst will come out for them from now on.





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