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It was a dark, frigid night in Peterborough on February 8, which meant that the only plausible way of keeping warm was to go to a rock show at the Twisted Wheel. The house filled up to the solo acoustic opener by Fast Eddie, who is also a member of Debt Cemetery. It was especially welcoming to hear his tribute to the sounds of Bill Stevenson (Descendants) in the song “Belated Thank You.” His original renditions of a pop punk genre were certainly eye-catching, mixing the necessary aggression of fast strumming with the melodic interactions in the vocals. Fast Eddie prepared the growing crowd to something that was sure to knock their woolen socks off.
The Oshawa skate-punk band Mad Murdocks was next to tear apart the stage. The band kicked into a sonic shockwave and dominated the stage and dance floor. You could close your eyes and imagine the nostalgic environment you’d see in an early 80’s punk rock show - the Murdocks emulated that to such incredible accuracy. Bands like Minor Threat and Bad Brains come to mind, but the Murdocks paint their own vivid picture. Songs such as “Get Bent” beckon the crowd to scream along, and though the songs are short, they are so damn sweet.
Debt Cemetery met us on a very equal ground, considering their songs were just as fast as the slam dancers and head bangers. The drums ripped like a chainsaw, and the guitar strumming was so fast my fingertips hurt just looking at them play. But the crowd’s response was ecstatic. It’s no easy job to fuse melodic and hardcore vocals to make it sound good (especially in the interest of not blowing out your vocal cords), but Debt Cemetery made the songs sound more than great. They made announcements of big things to come, including a single (so search them up on your streaming apps).
Nothing serious emerged after the short commercial break. The effect-heavy guitars combined with the pop-punk reminiscent vocal styles made the three-piece band on a tiny stage sound like an enormous high-tech concert at a big festival. The get-up-and-dance vibes of “Gravedigger” with the heavier, chant-it-loud “If You Think This Song Is A Death Threat Then You’re Right” makes for something that would make the Vans Warped Tour.
To cap off an unforgettable evening of deafeningly loud (but undeniably good) music, the Peterborough-based Bonnavilles geared up on stage and kicked right into the opener without a second to spare. In all honesty, I could only describe what ensued as a wall of sound headed towards the crowd at a thousand miles an hour. But the five-piece band found themselves conducting the crowd into a frenzy of folks flying around. With what hearing I had left from the previous shows, I was immediately hooked, and it seemed like I wasn’t the only one. Interestingly enough, all of the band members sang on vocals too – whether it be backup or leads. With such a colorful arrangement of sounds, it's no secret that this band puts up a kickass show.
As the last of the rockers were clearing out of the venue, I was fortunate enough to meet up with the members of the Bonnavilles after the show. What follows is a comfortably comedic mix of sardonic and plausible banter, given that the interview was taken in the parking lot in -23-degree weather.
SW: Tell us about how you guys felt about this show.
CHASE: I was nervous, man! First time I’ve been nervous in a while.
BRETT: Oddly enough, I was kind of shook up a little before it started. It was our first show with a new drummer, after a 3-month hiatus of searching for the perfect fit. We got Andrew, and he slayed it! I think it went pretty fuckin’ good.
ANDREW: After we played the first song I felt like “Ok, it's all good,” it just took me the first little bit.
CHASE: I was on the same boat as you. I thought you were looking at me like “are you nervous?” then I said something like “Yeah, I'm nervous man!”On the second one, I was like “You look comfortable, I’m good!”
ANDREW: It took me a little bit, like half a song. Once we started hammering it out, we were like “Fuck Yeah!”
SW: So tell us a little bit about how you guys came together and started ripping out tunes.
CHASE: That’s a question for [Chris] Rider who usually stays quiet, but he can tell the story.
RIDER: So they write a bunch of music, and then they made the mistake of asking me to play for them, and then I brought all these assholes in there! (laughs)
BRETT: One by one we all kind of just fell in place.
C. PAYNE: And the nightmare kept continuing… (laughs)
CHASE: Then we got this other guy Andrew, and then yeah, he’s pretty in for it too. (laughs)
ANDREW: Chris once helped me drive to a shop and I’m like “You’re taking me to the edge of town, I’m getting nervous, man.” I was like “Is this what you do? You’re going to take me there and make me do my band initiation?” It's all jokes.
SW: Are there any special plans or ambitions you guys would like to speak of?
C. PAYNE: The new record we’re working on right now. As soon as those songs are written, we’re heading to the studio, finishing off a new EP, and heading out on the road this summer, sometime. And yeah, stay tuned! More music coming down the pipes!
BRETT: Yeah, also come out to the live shows and support your scene! Next time bring three friends!
C. PAYNE: Well be back March 7 at The Red Dog with Living Dead Girl and Maybe May. It’s a charity event so be sure to bring your money, it's all going towards a good cause!
ANDREW: All proceeds go to the Lakefield Animal Welfare Society, so yeah, definitely a good cause!
I was also able to catch up with the members of Nothing Serious for an interview in their touring van.
SW: What did you guys think about the show? Tell us your first impressions.
JOHN: It was unreal!
EDWARD: It was wicked yeah. I love Peterborough - it's always a great time when we come up here. I’m not just saying that because we're here. (laughs)
JOHN: Yeah, it was pretty cool. A very small, intimate space with a lot of people.
CONNOR: Very crowded too, haha.
SW: Tell us about your first steps as a band.
JOHN: So basically, we were in a band prior together and we decided to part ways for a bit, and we decided to get back together to start writing music. It's nothing serious, you know?
EDWARD: In that break I played a lot of Minecraft.
JOHN: Yeah, we played a lot of Minecraft. That was the whole reason we started this band, we were like; “we really got to do something else than play Minecraft.” (laughs)
EDWARD: You know when you’re playing, and you get to the desperate point to which you build a castle? We got to that, and we were like “Alright we need something else to do.”
JOHN: We finished the castle.
EDWARD: Did we?
JOHN: I think so.
ALL: Oh, fuck. (laughs)
SW: Fair enough. (laughs) Do you guys have any releases/dates planned for the future?
JOHN: We’re releasing a single on February 28, it's called “Jekyll & Hyde.” You’ll be able to find it wherever you find your music, I think. (laughs)
CONNOR: Except for CD’s and vinyl for now.
JOHN: Or cassettes-
CONNOR: Or eight track-
EDWARD: We’re not getting Betamax.
CONNOR: I thought we discussed specifically getting an eight track.
EDWARD: Nah, were putting it on VHS.
SW: Like a black screen with just music?
ALL: Yeah. (laughs)
SW: Awesome. Anything else you want to leave us off with?
EDWARD: We have a show the day after the release in Ajax in the basement of Rotilicious. That’s probably the biggest thing on the map (laughs). Yeah, we’re pretty much throwing our butts for the next little bit. But yeah, stay tuned!