Toronto's Rock Plaza Central come to Halifax today (Thursday, January 17) to play at The Marquee Club with The Orchid, and, frankly, now might be a good time to catch them. This is a good example of a band that's two hairs shy of inspiring Arcade Fire-style mania. Winning fans by the bucketload with last year's release, Are We Not Horses, the band's trip last year to Austin, Texas, also garnered them a famous fan---Superbad's Jonah Hill. There's a fun fact! Made up of Chris Eaton, Scott Maynard, Donald Murray, John Whytock, Blake Howard, Fiona Stewart and Rob Carson, Rock Plaza Central confused and delighted with Horses, a complicated concept album (about mechanical horses who think they're real); but this strange concept proved to be a perfect backdrop for their epic, orchestral mixture.
"Naturally, we were a bit concerned that people wouldn't take the concept very well. the general idea of concept albums, and then specifically one about something that sounds so ridiculous," says Chris Eaton (vocals, guitar and novelist on the side---he's published two books with Insomniac Press). "We certainly never expected the opportunity to do all the fun things we've done this year, though. And never expected that it might touch people so deeply. On our last tour, there was probably someone at every show who said the album saved them from depression, or helped them while they were stationed in Iraq or something. It feels nice to hear that." Rock Plaza Central's website posts that the band is "sleeping and writing" in February. Sleep is well deserved for the band, but the writing should intrigue fans. "We all need a break. But I also intend to spend some time writing a book I started in Panama two summers ago. Songs are largely breaks for me," says Eaton. "It takes so long to work on a novel that it's nice to have something finished in 20 minutes. And also to then build it with other people. Writing fiction is so solitary."
Far from being lonely, a seven-piece band in a van would be a lot for most people to handle on the road. "I guess that's what is remarkable and exciting for me with the group, that we manage to get along well enough to make anything at all," Eaton says. "In fact, everything comes together so easily, without anyone ever telling anyone what to play. I love what we have together. It's really magical."