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The Blakes, Oh No Forest Fires

30-Nov-2007 01:18 PM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
The Blakes
The Silver Dollar in Toronto, Ontario
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
The Blakes
Oh No Forest Fires
November 26, 2007
Full Photo Set (20 photos)

The Blakes are a Seattle based three-piece band, but none of the members grew up there. Brothers Garnet Keim (guitar, vocals) and Snow Keim (bass, vocals) met drummer Bob Hussak while he was working at Tully's coffee shop, and eventually the three of them formed a band taking their name from the artist William Blake. They've been labelled breakout stars by Filter magazine, and at 5 ½ weeks into their 7 week tour, they stopped in Toronto to help promote their debut full-length self-titled album. Opening for The Blakes was a local band, appropriately named (explanation later) Oh No Forest Fires.

The Blakes

Toronto is already known for being relatively reserved, but add to the fact that it was a Monday night and you got a more reserved crowd than normal. After one song early in the set, there was clapping and cheering, but then the crowd stopped and stood in silence waiting for the next song. I think this was a little surprising for Garnet who joked about it being as quiet as a monastery. And later, in between two songs, while we were all cheering, he said sarcastically "Thank-you... thanks, but we really prefer the silence".

The Blakes
The Blakes
The Blakes

The Blakes' music is much more about the vibe than the composition, with fairly basic song structure. Garnet says that one of their most popular songs, Don't Bother Me, is based on two-chords, which I suppose is true, but some credit should be given to the timing of the guitar playing, drumming, and just the overall pace of the song. But, yeah, the vibe is strong, most of it derived from the two Keim brothers, but it would be completely unfair to exclude Hussak's relentless drumming. The gritty, sweat-filled, garage rock set ended with Snow kicking over part of the drum kit while Hussak continued to play, after which a line-up formed at the merchandise table.

The Blakes
The Blakes
The Blakes

Info: The Blakes | Connect: MySpace

Oh No Forest Fires

Okay, so why is Oh No Forest Fires appropriately named? Well, to me the name sounds a little bit chaotic and a little bit geeky, which is also a phrase I could use to describe the band itself. Rajiv Thavanathan (vocals, guitar) has a unique stage presence... there's a sort of this geeky energy about him (and I mean that in a good way) while he bounces around playing his guitar. This five-piece Toronto band sports three guitarists, so it would be fair to say it's guitar-based music. And when they wander off into the solos, the guitars intertwine.

Oh No Forest Fires
Oh No Forest Fires
Oh No Forest Fires

Lead vocals are shared between Rajiv and Shawn Jurek (guitar, vocals), which adds some variety to the show. After the set, Rajiv told me that this was only their sixth performance together, which explains a couple of rough edges that were exposed in an otherwise clean set. Oh, and they completed the set with a song called You Put The Eek In Freek which had quite the finish, with Rajiv down on his knees playing his guitar and pounding on the distortion pedals with his hands.

Oh No Forest Fires
Oh No Forest Fires
Oh No Forest Fires

Just a note, the Oh No Forest Fires demo recordings on their MySpace page give you a rough feel of what you will hear from them on stage, but they don't quite the show justice.

Info and Connect: Oh No Forest Fires on MySpace

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