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White Whale Saskatoon showcase

By in Culture

Though initially a tour comprised of six bands, White Whale Records will be doing a truncated version of their five-year anniversary party here in Saskatoon on June 29. Two indie bands from Toronto,
Octoberman and Mohawk Lodge, will be joined by Edmonton rocker Eamon McGrath for a night of eclectic rock music.

Whether you’re a fan of Canadian indie music or not, this show should be pretty damn wicked — if for no other reason than the varied sounds of these three groups.

Octoberman is a soft, melodic band, crafting ethereal songs using diverse instrumentation. Their recordings sound somewhat meticulous at times and some nice harmonies colour the songs. Throughout, they manage to hang on to a unique sound while covering some classic rock songs. There’s a lot of folk music in here and a bit of experimental, too. Fans of hypnotic, mildly distorted ballads should dig Octoberman’s set.

Mohawk Lodge sound like a Canadian indie rock band through-and-through. To be honest, they sound a lot like Ladyhawk (listen to Mohawk Lodge’s song “Words in the Night,” for example) but not as good. Mohawk Lodge have some catchy tunes, but there isn’t much to make them stand out against the bands who (too directly) influence them. They have gang vocals, horns and probably some songs about the open road; but for me, their sound is getting tired (not to mention played-out).

On the other hand, it’s still an extremely popular style and there seems to be an endless appetite for this kind of music. I suppose it isn’t the worst thing to have a second Ladyhawk around. Regardless, they should put on a rocking set, and if I can get enough booze in me, I could easily lose my snobbery somewhere between the alley and the toilet.

Eamon McGrath is probably the stand-out act on this bill and if my overblown negativity on Mohawk Lodge turned you off, let this set things right. McGrath’s stage-show is as explosive as his music. His song-writing is pretty clearly channelled from the punk and rock legends of the past, Paul Westerberg, Tom Waits and Joey Ramone, among others.

The polished sound of both Octoberman and Mohawk Lodge will definitely stand in stark contrast with McGrath’s gruff voice and who-gives-a-shit, free-wheelin’ ways. Actually, McGrath is probably too sloppy for some tastes but that’s why this show is exciting: there should be something for any Joe or Suzy music listener.

You can thank the promoters at Vive for bringing this indie-studded tour to Saskatoon. White Whale has a unique assortment of bands and I’m sure we’re going to hear more about their roster in coming years. Have a happy and hip anniversary guys, and always plan a safe ride home — on your hipster old-man-bike.

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