Hunter Valentine start rebellion

Toronto band plays rock with post-grunge sweetness

Hunter Valentine got their start in Toronto’s queer community, and will be playing at a Queerientation event tonight.
Hunter Valentine got their start in Toronto’s queer community, and will be playing at a Queerientation event tonight.
Credit: 
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Toronto rock trio Hunter Valentine bring their gritty sound to the Grad Club tonight as part of EQuIP’s Queerientation. Though this concert marks their first time in Kingston, the band members love the road and have toured southern Ontario extensively.

“[The name Hunter Valentine] kind of represents a certain kind of rebellious attitude, I guess,” singer-guitarist Kiyomi McCloskey said. “Kind of like a James Dean character who is on this mission for love ... but is constantly breaking hearts so he’s missing it all the time.” Hunter Valentine combine charming guitar hooks with guttural throaty vocals, making for especially rockin’ live shows.

“There’s something that is so amazing about performing for people and seeing their reaction right away,” McCloskey said.

“There are really cool surprises that you never really can pin down before hand. We had a show in Chatham, I’d never been there. … So we arrive in Chatham, oh it’s a small town, and it winds up being one of the best shows ever because the kids there are so hyped. ... You never know what’s going to happen.”

The band released the full-length The Impatient Romantic last year.

“You learn so much about yourself when you’re in the studio and you really learn to push yourself in different ways.”

McCloskey, along with drummer Laura Petracca and bassist Adrienne Lloyd, work together to arrange and flesh out the songs, creating something reminiscent of PJ Harvey’s earlier career with a dash of post-grunge sweetness.

“I’ll have a song that I write in my bedroom with my acoustic guitar. Sometimes me and Adrienne write songs with the piano, but we always bring the base of a song to the rehearsal space and shape it out,” McCloskey said.

“We’re taking different little bits from different types of music. We don’t stretch or pinpoint ourselves with a label as long as the music we’re making is honest.”

Hunter Valentine’s beginnings in Toronto were with the queer community, so being asked to play as part of Queerientation is meaningful for them.

“It’s awesome to have that support from the community,” McCloskey said. “If we didn’t have that encouragement in the beginning we would never be where we are today.”

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Hunter Valentine play tonight at the Grad Club. Tickets are $12 at the door.

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