by Joan of Arts
It will be almost three years to the day since Sloan last played an open show in the streets they called home when they perform at the McInnes Room on September 23. Now residing in Toronto for the better half of a decade, Chris Murphy reassures that despite their absence, the band has kept a close eye on the scene to which they once brought international acclaim.
“People accuse us of being out of touch, which is outrageous,” says Murphy. “I just can’t wait to play the Double Deuce again. I haven’t been in awhile but I’m so psyched. Maybe we’ll play with Hardship Post, or THE Hardship Post as they’re calling themselves now.”
Many longtime fans still hold grudges over their relocation, but Murphy says the move that sounded like a good idea at the time has worked out well in the long run.
“We all moved originally for the women in our lives. Andrew and Patrick are with the same women they moved up for and Jay and I wander aimlessly through this world,” he says. “It was also fun for us because none of us had gone away to school and let me say school isn’t out yet. We still can be found jamming ourselves into phone booths every so often.”
Although Sloan missed Halifax on their Atlantic tour last fall, Murphy is enthused to be finally coming back.
“I’m looking forward to playing with The Stills, who are great, and especially City Field because we’ve never played with them and Matt Murphy helped me make the ‘Halifax music scene’ you speak of a big deal for however brief that was,” he says. “Hopefully Joel and the boys will come by and we’ll try not to talk about the good old days because hopefully they’re still happening.”
Comstocks in control
Brothers Jordi and Kirk Comstock had undergone a plethora of line-up changes in their longtime band Madhat, and are now breaking exciting new ground with cousin Luke Comstock as part of their dynamic. The Comstock trio, known as Air Traffic Control, are not only nominated for best new artist at the MIANS awards being held this weekend as part of Nova Scotia Music Week, but will benefit from a distribution deal with Maple Nationwide.
“We had crossed paths with some of the people from Maple at different events, and there were a lot of groups that they distribute that we really like,” says Jordi, who plays drums. “When they expressed interest in carrying the record we were really excited.”
Air Traffic Control’s self-titled debut has been available locally since February, and was released nationally this past Tuesday. The Lunenburg-based rock band’s tour schedule will have covered major cities including Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto by October’s end — but not before showcasing their act to the all-ages crowd at the Pavilion on September 23 with support from The Letter Unfolds, Moth & Rust and Audity. As to what the kids can expect, it is a revitalized band that has learned much since the days where they could only play all-ages clubs — Madhat played even before they began recording when they were in their early teens in 1993.
“The most important thing we’ve learned is that every band is different,” Jordi says. “A strategy that has been successful for someone else may not be right for you. Celebrate individually.”
A seasonal dream
The five-piece travelling band that journeyed under the Shakespearian moniker A Midwinter Night’s Dream this past January and February is about to hit the road once again, for the poetic licence-less A Midsummer Night’s Dream tour. Singer-songwriters Ruth Minnikin, Dale Murray, Kate Maki, Nathan Lawr and Ryan Bishops will kick off the first of 29 dates across nine provinces September 23 at Stage Nine.