THE SUBWAYS + The Shys @ La Sala Rossa

By Rami Nuseir - Morning Milk and Your Snooze Button - 03/09/2006

So I got to La Sala Rossa around 8:45pm, and the place was pretty empty. Sala holds about 300 people, and I dare say there were only around 50-70 for a good little while. The first band started right on schedule, which was a big surprise to me -- seriously, when do shows EVER happen on time? They came on, and I hated them. A lot of people seemed to be jumping up and down to the grooves the band was playing, but I was not one of them. See, they are just like any other rock/ska band, and so is the music they play. So to differentiate themselves from a million other clone bands, they have a trumpeter and a cellist (that’s someone who plays the cello for all you ignoramuses out there), which is not a bad idea in theory. The problem is that they didn’t do anything special. No trumpet solos, no cello solos; trumpet didn’t take the lead, cello played some really low bass lines. I was not impressed. To top it all off, I hated the vocalist’s voice. He kind of grated after the first two minutes, and I couldn’t understand a single word he said. However, to be fair, there were a bunch of people in the crowd enjoying the show (*cough* idiots *cough*), so who knows, maybe I just have shitty taste in music.

That was sarcasm in case you’re wondering. I have wonderful taste in music, which is why I loved the next band that came on. It was around 20 minutes after the first one went backstage where they (hopefully) killed themselves that a band called The Shys came on (formerly known as The Gun Shys). Now these guys were refreshing. All the regular elements of a good rock band (bass, guitar, drums, vocals) as well as a keyboardist, who was pretty damn good. They worked the crowd, played a bunch of power pop tunes, and actually got me excited. They had lots of energy, and when they were done, so did I.

So I was a bit disappointed when I realized that I would have to wait a little before The Subways went on. It was about 45 minutes after The Shys were done, that they waltzed on stage. Singer/guitarist, female vocals/bassist and a drummer. They started off with a fast tune, and started rocking it right off the bat. Super high energy, with the guitarist wailing away at his instrument and on the mic. Even more insane was the bassist: half the time, she was jumping around and dancing, stopping only to hop back on her mic for some backup vocals, then away she went leaping across the stage. And that was all just in the first song. Now, I know what you’re thinking: the band has only one album out, they’re all three-minute pop/rock songs, so how could the show possibly be interesting? Answer: they meshed songs together. The singer would start with a really mellow tune, like "Lines of Light", which he would sing so slowly that he was almost crying, slowing the crowd down… THEN JUMP AND SCREEAAMM!!! They did that with all their tunes: starting off with one song, turning it into another, then coming back to the first to end it. Also, things became really intimate when the singer would face off with his bassist, and they would practically lean in and kiss while playing their respective instruments. Groovy. They even had one new track for us, which I thoroughly enjoyed along with the other nine. Finally, as I was beginning to get tired, the singer started jumping onto the speakers and even played his guitar while standing on the bass drum for a little bit. Truly lovely. And did I mention that they said that Montreal was the best crowd they’d ever played for? I wouldn’t stake any money on it, but still, it’s nice when the singer interacts with the crowd a little.

So yeah, in case you haven’t figured it out already, The Subways are a wicked studio band, and a gigantic live band. Definitely worth seeing; I’d go again in a heartbeat.

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