Thanks to the folks at Magna Carta, I was guest-listed for California’s Under the Sun in Montreal. It was a three-band show. The first band was a jazz act, too technique, no feeling to the music. The second band were called Silent Exile. More on them at a later time.
Before the show, I had a chance to chat with keyboard player, Matt Evidon and drummer, Paul Shkut.
Nice guys. We talked about the album itself. They came at it from a different angle. They recorded it themselves and sent a tape, of one song, to Terry Brown (producer of Rush) in Toronto. Brown agreed to do the mixing, based on this song. It took him only ten days (one day per song). He liked the album so much that he sent the final mixes to Magna Carta who signed the band right-away.
They were then invited to Nearfest, an annual prog-rock festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. So, rather than jump on a from plane to do one show, then take a plane back home, they decided to do a tour at the same time.
Getting booked was difficult. To get good booking, you need someone who really knows your act and is into the music, in order to really promote you. This wasn’t the case. So Paul decided to do the booking himself. It was a lot of work, but he did a good job of it.
Of course, they won’t get rich on a tour like this. This is more of a promotional tour than anything else. They’re a new band without a following. So this tour serves to build one. Get themselves known, sell a few albums, have people who were there tell their friends so that next time there are more people.
For us who were there, we certainly enjoyed it. It was nice for everyone in the audience who had a chance to talk to the guys after the show.
They’re a tight band. The music sounds great. Sort of influenced by 80s or 90s Yes, with a touch of Floyd on the guitar and, thanks to Terry Brown, a bit of the Rush sound.
This is a band where everyone is spotlighted. No egos here. They started off with Perfect World. A strong song to get people into the mood right away. Matt had forgotten to adjust his mic, so wile he was trying to sing backup, he was also in front of his keyboards trying to place the mic. Then running behind to play the notes. Quite amusing, actually.
They went through the whole album with great results. I hadn’t heard their music before, so I wasn’t prejudiced in any way. I felt it was a good way to be introduced to their sound. Although of the prog genre, much of it is more straight rock and could be played on the radio. One of the big moments of the show, perhaps the biggest, was From Henceforth Now and Forever. A very dreamy prog song, the last one on the album.
Make no mistake, this is a band with a future, but one they built patiently. This is their first album and these guys are all in their mid-thirties, doing music they like and enjoying it. Perhaps a lesson in there.
If you have a chance to see them, I strongly recommend you do. Meanwhile, you can always get the album from Magna Carta.