Attack in Kingston

Shotgun Jimmie, Ladyhawk and Attack in Black rock Time to Laugh

With literate lyricism in hand, Attack in Black held their crowds’ attention on Monday night at the Time to Laugh Comedy Club.
With literate lyricism in hand, Attack in Black held their crowds’ attention on Monday night at the Time to Laugh Comedy Club.

Attack in Black are known for their literate and genre-crossing take on rock and roll. On Wednesday night, at the Time to Laugh Comedy Club, the band impressively showcased their no-nonsense sensibilities, with friends Ladyhawk and Shotgun Jimmie.

Shotgun Jimmie, from Sackville, New Brunswick, provided an enjoyable opener, featuring members of Ladyhawk and Attack in Black as the backup band for his melodic pop-rock. A crowd-pleaser, he finished the performance with a flurry of air-instrument solos, from air-drums to air-flute.

Vancouver’s Ladyhawk, in a similar vein as their tour mates, performed a rollicking show that held the crowd’s attention. Slightly heavier than Shotgun Jimmie, their dynamic garage rock was still lyrical, placing catchy, melodic, vocal hooks at the forefront of their songs.

Attack in Black is composed of brothers Daniel (vocals, lead guitar), and Ian Romano (drums), and Ian Kehar (bass) and Spencer Burton (backing vocals, guitar). The band’s live sound would not be familiar to someone who knew them from their hardcore origins, but it is a far cry from the acoustic nature of their latest release Curvature of the Earth.

“There used to be a big scene, there used to be lots of hardcore bands and punk bands, kids would come out to shows every night,” he said of his home town scene, adding that some bands are still active in Welland, Ontario though the scene has diminished.

“It was nice having a big music scene. It’s nice to have a small music scene. It’s nice to have any music scene, really.”

Attack in Black began playing mostly hardcore but without ignoring the past, their sound has strayed far from its roots. As a group, they demonstrate a mature ability to cross styles fluently with a sometimes jangly, sometimes driving approach to rock and roll.

Curvature of the Earth, Attack in Black’s most recent full-length recording, is entirely acoustic, showing a decidedly folksy bent. That album, as well as the unreleased Used by 1000 Fingertips, to be released in March 2009, were both self-recorded. The band was less involved in Marriage, their first full-length recording, and Burton said the band felt much happier with the results of their own recording.

“Everything we’ve done since [Marriage], I think we’ve liked a lot better, because we’ve done it ourselves.”

To Attack in Black, the music on an album doesn’t need to correspond with the live show. The laid back acoustic feel of Curvature of the Earth seems to have little to do with the loud, cathartic feel of the live versions of the same songs—though at the core of each is the same erudite lyricism and vocal strength.

The band shows what can be done with simple, clean guitar. Nothing is buried beneath distortion, and the entire band’s musical competence, especially on songs such as the almost-twangy “Young Leaves,” can shine through.

Attack in Black has garnered a lot of positive attention and radio play and they proved Wednesday night that it’s well deserved. With solid song writing and musicianship, the band has a genuine quality that makes it undeniably more than a musical flash in the pan.

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