CMW 2012: Sandman Viper Command @ Lee's Palace by Adam Bunch

SATURDAY – I'm pretty sure the technical term for what Sandman Viper Command lead guitarist Dan Reardon does is "shredding". But that word suggests, to me at least, indulgent solos and look-at-me virtuosity, which isn't really what Sandman Viper Command are about at all. Reardon's fingers fly in controlled bursts, providing a boiling background to the band's tight, short, rock revival tunes. On stage, he's hardly flailing away like some wannabe rock star looking for attention; he's practically downright calm as bends and twists and draws a flurry of notes from his guitar. So maybe a better word would be "incendiary"? But I'm clearly just stealing that from what the young, fictional Cameron Crowe says about Billy Crudup in Almost Famous. And while I do think the adjective fits and I love referencing that movie just as much as the next music writer does (see? I just did), that film's about a band with one good lead guitarist and a whole bunch of mediocre everything else (except, of course, for Jason Lee's awesome beard) and that's not what Sandman Viper Command are about either. They're about gritty, unkempt, '70s-style rock 'n' roll, sure. But the other three musicians – frontman Rob Janson, bassist Aaron Harvey, drummer Matt Meyer – more than hold their own, driving the songs forward two or three minutes at a time. And on CMW's Saturday night, that was more than enough to take a gradually growing crowd at Lee's Palace – nearly asleep from a relaxing folk set by Snailhouse – and get them cheering, even dancing along, ready for the high energy of Whale Tooth and The Inbreds that followed. So, let's just say that Sandman Viper Command's leader guitarist, Dan Reardon, is "really fucking good at guitar". And we'll leave it at that.


Find all our coverage of Canadian Music Week 2012 here.

Photos: Adam Bunch

Adam Bunch is the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at


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