Winnipeg//Manitoba has always been a mecca for great music. From political punk-rockers, Propagandhi, to baby boomer darlings, The Guess Who, the prairie city has been a highlight on the map of North America's music scene for nearly half a century. As daunting as this standard of quality might be to some, Winnipeg's musicians have always used it as leverage to push themselves both higher and further. As the old saying goes. a rising tide lifts all boats. This mentality carries The Peg's vibrant punk//rock scene.
For years, Braden Wilks - then fronting the band Triggers - watched powerhouse frontmen in his community such as Distances' Dylan James and Clipwing's Martin Lafreniere take their bands to new heights with shear vocal power, provoking lyrics and raw live passion. In true Winnipeg fashion, Wilks channeled that inspiration into his own music, using it to edge himself further with each song and live performance.
Fast//Forward to the early months of 2017. As Clipwing returned from a tour overseas to a disassembled Distances and Triggers, the three songwriters came to the conclusion that not only were they going to provide support for each other within their local punk rock scene, but they were ready and eager to do it within the same band.
Enter Slow//Steady. Imagine that. Three frontmen from three stalwart local acts coming together under one banner, each bringing their own toolbox of tricks and assets. Could crowds keep up? Was there enough headroom on the mixing board for the plethora of harmonies that was about to be thrown down? The brief pause in each of these guys' musical activity provided a chance that was too just tempting to pass up.
The band's first test proved to be quite simple, as they found a solid backbone in the drumming of local veteran, Matt Hallick – who had just recently waived goodbye to his previous band, Hope Atlantic, and was hungry for his next endeavour. He too, had been watching the three songwriters up on stages for quite some time and wasted no time making the choice to bring his brazen stickwork to Slow//Steady. The songwriting came effortlessly.
Following the first batch of songs, Slow//Steady found themselves in familiar territory. Perhaps too familiar. The band had leaned heavily on the pop punk brand of their past ventures, culminating in a two song release that included a video for "Look Ma, First Try!" - a stop//start sing-a-long, detailed by articulate guitar work and drenched in three part harmonies that will have your fists in the air within seconds. However, the band continued to ponder the eternal questions. in this ever changing musical landscape, was there any more room for nostalgia-induced Pop//Punk? Had that audience outgrown it's own landscape? And most importantly, was there room for a post-pop-punk revolution? These are the important questions far too many bands don't ask themselves, as they all to often plug in and play with fervor.
Braden, Dylan, Matt and Marty recognized that it had been more than a decade since Blink 182 had been relevant and any utterance of the word Emo often activated the modern music fan's gag reflex. Moreover, they found a new meaning for their own bandname in the complexities and strippeddown'edness of newer artists such as Into It. Over It. while other favourites like The Downtown Struts and The Menzingers reinvisioned the melodic guitars of the pop punk world with a modern twist that shed all the cliches. With a brief plunge into acoustic sessions, Slow//Steady explored what they loved about their past fortunes, as well as what they needed to leave behind. The outcome is a groove based//pop oriented effort with cascading harmonies that can only be the result of a combined thirty years on the microphone. Textured guitars atop smoothed out breakbeats articulate the maturity of these songwriters and bend genres so fluidly that music fans across the spectrum can feel at home. The shear volume of their forefathers is replaced by a more focused, raw energy while the lyrics don't stray too far away from what brought millions of fans running to Pop//Punk genre in the first place. Newer matieral, like the melancolic "Tramp Like Me", detail a brand of tonguein-cheek nostalgia that cries out. Remember the good old days? Yeeeeahhh, let's not go back there.
The Good Will Social Club
625 Portage Avenue