If you’ve ever been to a house party at Queen’s, there’s a high possibility you’ve heard of Tigress. The four-piece band that’s a regular performer at campus events just took their next step— opening for Canadian indie pop rock group James Blonde at The Mansion this Saturday.
The band formed when bass, guitar and keyboard player Brett Kinrade and singer and guitarist Eric Lawrence met during frosh week 2014. The two bonded over a mutual love for the rock and roll bands from their childhood, as they played Red Hot Chilli Peppers covers in their Harkness Hall residence room.
In 2016, students Michael Barrett and Ryan Matthew joined the duo on drums and lead guitar, respectively.
But the band became a two-piece once again on Saturday, when Tigress surprised their familiar crowd with an acoustic set featuring only Lawrence and Barrett at The Mansion.
The two band members decided to take the opportunity to perform as a duo, undeterred by the fact that Brett and Ryan were in Toronto for an internship and presentation, respectively.
“Eric and I collaborated twice before this event,” Barrett explained, “but we haven’t played live together before and we’re both coming off not practicing with each other for three months. Honestly, we’ve done worse.”
The summer break presented a disadvantage for the student musicians who live in different cities, but it didn’t show—thankfully.
“It was impromptu. We wanted to take this opportunity to open for James Blonde because it’s the perfect Saturday to play a gig. Nobody’s in class and people are willing to come out and see a show. Plus James Blonde is a pretty big name,” Lawrence said.
The band opened with two original songs, “Fall” and “Winter”, setting the mood for a somber set that showed a serious side of the two bandmates who simply wanted to play music they’d be fans of.
A cover of The Tragically Hip’s “Wheat Kings” prompted the crowd to sing along whilst paying tribute to Kingston’s favourite band.
The duo built confidence as their fans cheered them through a diverse repertoire featuring Red Hot Chili Peppers, City and Colour and Tom Petty. By slowing down the tempo and focusing on the sanguine vocals of Lawrence, the two-piece was successful in creating a sincere sound that brought back nostalgia for young love under the night stars.
The control they had over their music on Saturday omitted the wild rock `n’ roll spirit they had in their early days as a band. Not to say one is better than the other, but this approach certainly proved successful. Chokers made a comeback in the past years, now it’s time to bring back that early nineties slow rock.
“When you’re up there playing for people, it’s their energy that drives your own. When the crowd’s warm and you’re warm, it gets hot,” Lawrence said.
“Everyone had a good time, but that’s not to say that there’s no room for improvement for Tigress. We’re on a transition period, but when you get asked by James Blonde to play a show, you don’t turn it down,” he added.
Tigress lives on. Whether it’s at a house party or on their first day of school, we patiently await for the reunion.
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