Shade wants Kingston to know that good rock music is still alive, and they’re dead-set on making it their own.
The Hamilton-based rock band performed at the Toucan on March 22 with Fade Awaays, alongside Kingston locals, Bo Welland.
The band’s on their second major tour, playing music inspired by their favourite alternative rock acts of the ’90s. Mixing pop rock with grunge and combining Pearl Jam’s heavy guitar riffs with The Cranberries’ catchy hooks, it’s easy to hear Shade’s influences.
The band is always looking to find new inspiration from new places, and being together for almost a year and a half has given them lots of opportunities to find that. They’ve been playing shows since December of 2017, including one tour of England. For them, the rough accommodations and couch-surfing of touring are worth it.
From performing on stage to touring and writing, Shade’s lead guitarist, Sam Rashid, is happy to have the opportunity to pen and play the heavy riffs that their fans mosh to from show to show.
“It’s a job that’s fun, and there’s no dread at all,” Rashid told The Journal. “It’s fun. We’re doing cool things and making cool music.”
He hopes that his audience will believe there’s still great music out there after hearing Shade perform.
“I often find myself saying that music sucks these days, and I hope people take away that thereis good music out there, you just have to look for it. Hopefully the songs mean something to them and they get something out of it,” Rashid said.
For Rashid, songwriting is a tool that allows him to make the kind of music that audiences will respond to.
“It’s kind of like a form of self-therapy and self-care, I think for me at least. It’s like, if I’m not having a good day, I come home and I write a song about it and it kinda helps me come to terms with whatever I’ve experienced,” Rashid said.
The band’s mix of personal lyricism and moshable rock music can be found on their single, “Controller.” The song is an energetic headbanger, but lyrically it deals with moving on after a manipulative relationship.
He looks at writing his lyrics like adding to a diary helping him process the challenges in his life.
“And you piece it together to make something beautiful,” he said.
But performing these tunes is what makes being in Shade worthwhile. Their show at The Toucan—and the rowdy crowd was proof. Each of these shows reminds him of his most memorable performance: his first time onstage with the band.
“It was our first chance for people to hear what we were up to and what we’ve been doing.” Rashid said.
The band was nervous, but when the show went off flawlessly, if felt like a culmination of everything they’d worked towards.
“It was sold out and it was an absolutely crazy experience, people jumping all over the stage and moshing” Rashid said.
“It felt like a big relief that all the hard work paid off and it was cool to see everyone responding to what we wrote.”
They brought that same energy to The Toucan, getting the drunken crowd in the packed basement of the Irish pub dancing along to their vigorous alt-rock.
Shade is currently sitting on their forthcoming EP.
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