Balconies to showcase new material at Shindig
When Liam Jaeger heard his band was playing Tweed, his first thought was to plan travel to the small Ontario town of the same name as Canada’s largest pot producer. But rather than a trip to the shores of Stoco Lake this Saturday, Jaeger and The Balconies will be live on stage on the front lawn of Tweed’s Smiths Falls facility.
Touring to promote their upcoming second full-length studio album, The Balconies will feature as part of the Tweed Front Yard Shindig alongside Blakdenim and headliners The Joel Plaskett Emergency. Jaeger says fans will have a chance to hear Rhonda, due out this October, almost in its entirety, of course alongside some of the favourites that fans of The Balconies have come to love.
“We’re pretty much playing the whole album, except for one of the slower songs. We want people to be dancing and having a high-energy experience with us,” he says. “We try to be as full tilt as possible – that’s always been our style. I’m really loving playing these new songs."
Sonically, Rhonda is a nod to the soundscapes that, until 2014’s Fast Motions, characterized The Balconies’ sound. Where traditional instruments were responsible for the bulk of the work on the band’s last album, Rhonda is rife with synth-driven numbers reminiscent of the band’s earlier efforts.
“There’s a lot more synthesizers than we used to use, so it kind of has a little bit of nostalgia – a bit of 80s sounds,” he says. “But it’s by no means a throwback album. It’s kind-of revoicing our sound, our original sound, which was always very high-energy pop rock, lots of big harmonies and of course Jacquie’s vocal performance is always very animated. She just gets better and better.”
Fronted by the vivacious Jacquie Neville, The Balconies formed after she and Jaeger met while studying classical music at the University of Ottawa. In the years since winning the Live 88.5 Big Money Shot contest in 2011, the band has continually experimented with different arrangements in the studio and on stage – a formula Jaeger believes they may finally have dialed in.
“Over the last couple years we’ve been experimenting with more synths, less synths, more guitars, less guitars, and kind of finding the balance. Over the last year, we narrowed it down to having a few synths, but it’s still about 80 percent traditional band instruments,” he says, adding: “We kind of just devise the roles for the live performance on what we think is going to best represent the songs on the tour.”
Because each member of the outfit can play a range of instruments, versatility is literally at their fingertips. After Neville’s brother Stephen left the band recently, Jaeger moved from drums full-time to heading the band’s lead guitar duties. Neville, for her part, can rock a mic, guitar and viola, among other instruments.
Originally from Ottawa, Neville has called Toronto home for the last number of years. To stay plugged into the capital city music community that has given them so much, The Balconies try to play Ottawa about three times a year. While the band’s Smiths Falls concert can’t rightly be considered a home gig, they’re excited to being playing a first – a festival on the front lawn of a weed company.
Got your tickets to the Shindig yet? They’re going fast. Get them here!
Here’s to Future Growth!
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