Our Life With The Balconies by Cody McGraw

The Balconies play the Great Hall at 11pm tonight (Thursday, May 5) for Canadian Music Week. We originally published this post about the beginning of our love for them back on January 28, 2014.

It must have been four or five Canadian Music Weeks ago when my own love affair with The Balconies began. After several recommendations from friends, colleagues, the band's management and common sense, I stood at The Horseshoe as skeptical as only a music editor can be. It was the festival's Saturday night, so I was running on fumes, but I'd promised too many people I'd see this show to let them down. When the house music stopped, the crowd hushed and The Balconies walked on stage. I saw three young, attractive people grab their instruments, lean in and begin to play what would soon become some of my favourite songs.

Jacquie Neville took centre stage wide-eyed, as she still does today, like a young Pat Benatar. She greeted the audience with a wail — one as strong as the women of Heart or even Joan Jett — and The Balconies had me. Each song, with the help of bassist Stephen Neville and drummer Liam Jaeger, was better than the last; they murdered their 25-minute set. Immediately kicking myself for waiting so long to see them, I stood in awe. Sitting at home later, writing my review, I thought about how I was going to explain all of this to the readers. What I came up with then was the truth:

"To say this band is a beast on stage is a dramatic understatement. Their music reached out and bitch slapped The Horseshoe across their drunk faces and demanded attention."

I'm proud to say that I don't think The Little Red Umbrella team has missed a Balconies show in Toronto ever since.

In 2009, the band released their self-titled debut and toured the shit out of it. The crowds grew. People took notice. The band honed their live show to perfection. Being classically trained musicians, they've been able to play venues as diverse as rooftops, the basement of a movie theatre and Trinity Bellwoods Park — all while sounding like a well-oiled machine.

Fast forward to today, the day The Balconies release Fast Motions on Coalition Music. Having seen a few preview shows for the tracks on the record, I can say that even before I listened to the album, any skepticism over the result was non-existent. Playing the record is like seeing their show. It's powerful, deep and unforgettable — everything The Balconies should be. Stand out track "Boys and Girls" will knock you on your ass, as will live favourites "Kill Count", "Do It In the Dark" (formerly "Serious Bedtime") and "Fast Motions" (formerly "French Kiss"). They all build up to explosive finales, doing everything the band does best.

Is it the record of 2014? Maybe; it is still January — but I won't rule it out. And Saturday's show at Lee's Place could very well be the show of 2014.

So why not join us? Like all Balconies shows, we wouldn't miss it for the world.




The Garrison, CMW 2012 (Carmen Cheung)
Lee's Palace, CMW 2011 (Adam Bunch)
Lee's Palace, CMW 2013 (Carmen Cheung)
Lee's Palace, CMW 2011 (Adam Bunch)
The Garrison, CMW 2012 (Carmen Cheung)
Live In Bellwoods 2011 (Melanie Baresic)
Live In Bellwoods 2011 (Melanie Baresic)
Lee's Palace, CMW 2011 (Adam Bunch)
Lee's Palace, CMW 2013 (Carmen Cheung)
Sneaky Dee's, NXNE 2011 (Stephanie Cloutier)
The Garrison, CMW 2012 (Carmen Cheung)
Lee's Palace, CMW 2013 (Carmen Cheung)


Main photo by Courtney Lee Yip

Find all our previous coverage of The Balconies here.

Cody McGraw is a lot of things, but the thing we would call him his face is the Managing Editor of The Little Red Umbrella. A semi-retired music journalist, he will write about bands that are important to him in between articles he writes for us making fun of things. If you want to see what we put up with then follow him on twitter @Cody_McGraw.


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Elizabeth Kautz said...

Fast forward to today, the day The Balconies release Fast Motions on Coalition Music. Having seen a few preview shows for the tracks on the record, I can say that even before I listened to the album, any skepticism over the result was non-existent. Playing the record is like seeing their show. It's powerful, deep and unforgettable — everything The Balconies should be. I've made essay site check in order to download a much tracks as it's possible.

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