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Live Concert Review

The Bouncing Souls, Youth Brigade, Saint Alvia, Off With Their Heads

Live (Oct. 2nd, 2009)

The Starlite Room - Edmonton, Alberta
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Drunken punks took over downtown Edmonton last night as the Bouncing Souls brought their 20th Anniversary tour through the Starlite Room and proved that after twenty years together, the new Jersey quartet still know how to put on a great punk show.

Up and comers Off With Their Heads kicked off the evening with their fast paced, Dillinger Four-esque pop-punk. Ryan Young was in a good mode as he joked with the crowd in between delivering his always depressing and pessimistic lyrics in songs like Until The Day I Die, Fuck This I’m Out, I Am You, Keep Falling Down and Terrorist Attack. While nothing extremely out of the ordinary, the Minneapolis act were as solid as ever and even threw in a fantastic cover of Joe Strummer‘s Silver and Gold for good measure; all of which made Off With Their Heads the perfect warm up band for the night that was to come.

Saint Alvia picked up where Off With Their Heads left off and put on an equally energizing set, although with a drastically different sound. With four vocalists alternating singing duties, an organ and equal mixes of punk rock, dance hall reggae, and soul, Saint Alvia continued to rile up the crowd as they played through Romeo, Blonde Kryptonite, Unspoken Bond and Time To Go; but it was punk veterans Youth Brigade that truly showed how chaotic a punk show can be.

Celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary together, the Stern Brothers brought the punk rock style and energy of the eighties with them into the Starlite Room. Playing faster than you could believe, the punk icons had the old school fanatics out in force as they played classics like Believe In Something, Punk Rock Mom, and Violence. However, nothing could compare to their final song: Sink With Kalifornija. The archetype for punk rock sing-along’s, Sink With Kalifornija had everyone, well, singing along; and I mean everyone from the crowd to members of The Bouncing Souls and Off With Their Heads who all jumped at the chance to sing the anthem with the Stern Brothers. It was madness and energy confined to a small stage that cumulated with Shawn Stern playing his guitar with his microphone while being lifted up by a fan. It was an ending that most rock stars would kill for – and they were only the opening band.

By the time the Souls hit the stage a little past midnight the floor was full and ready to explode. Opening with True Believers, the crowd tore apart and never rested as the band sampled tracks from their entire career including as far back as I Like Your Mom and as recent as Gasoline and Airport Security. Throughout it all, the drunken fans sang along with nearly every word; pushing and shoving their way to the front. The occasional stage diver broke through the security, sang a few words and dove into the energetic mass of people below while the rest happily ran in circles and sung along to cuts like Hopeless Romantic, That Song, Private Radio, The Gold Song, Fight to LiveSomething To Believe, Kids and Heroes, Lean on Sheena, and the rousing closer of Gone.

Front man Greg Attonito continued to sing in his very unique, almost static, fashion which is always a comical sight to see. No other singer would be able to pull off a delivery like that, but the intensity and excitement of the crowd always makes up for it; although it would be nice to see him put some more energy into his delivery at times. Alas, it is what it is and twenty years in, nothing’s going to change now.

Oddly enough, the addition of a fifth touring member playing the organ worked as a detriment to the show rather than a benefit as the instrument came through the sound system with a high pitched tinge placed way too high in the mix, creating the cringe-worthy feeling of feedback. In fact, the sound was a slight problem the entire night as the vocals were often slightly harder to hear than necessary but a crowd full of energetic fans could really care less.

Live Concert Review

Against Me!, Japanther, Saint Alvia

Live (September 12th, 2008)

Edmonton Event Centre - Edmonton, Albert
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So the fall concert season has finally started, and it looks as if it will be the first solid concert season of the year. It started with the likes of Rancid and was quickly followed up by this show; a show who’s headlining act has received some of the most polarizing reactions in recent memory. Everyone seems to either hate them or love them. Of course, I’m talking about Against Me!, a band who has been making waves over the past two years with each and every one of their actions being carefully scrutinized and analyzed by the ever loving message board society. Their cross Canada tour made equally as many waves, however their fans were still out in full force as the band started closing in on the tour’s end; and those who were there were treated to a pretty entertaining punk rock show.

Burlington, Ontario’s Saint Alvia were first up and they began their set in a very unique way: by letting a university professor introduce them. Gordon Laxer came on to promote a protest that was happening the following day and raise awareness for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. Unfortunately for him, most of what he said went understood and while people were happily chanting “down with Bush” – very few actually knew why they were chanting it. As Laxer left the stage the six piece started their actual set with a nice mixture of songs from both their recently released Between The Linesalbum and their self-titled debut. Hitting tracks like Between The Lines, Blonde Kryptonite, Americafioso, Don’t Wanna Wait Forever and Business as UsualSaint Alvia played a solid set that saw them showing off their idea of a genre-free rock band.

The band were strong enough to attract numerous fans to their merch table afterwards and would probably pull a good crowd back again when they next travel through town. That’s much more than what can be said for the following band, Japanther, who were actually painful to listen to. They came on with a decent concept: a bassist, a drummer and a mass amount of sampling with vocals sang through microphones that looked like old school telephones. The Brooklyn duo were set to be memorable – and they were, just not in the right limelight. They focused way too much on distorted, industrialized vocals and the use of those previously mentioned samples. The drummer, who attempted to pump up the crowd by swearing and raising his hands up, simply faked drumming through any of the complicated drum beats and instead let the pre-recorded audio do all the work and the only time anyone from the crowd got really into it was when they started a Ramones cover. But that only lasted the “hey ho! lets go!” part before they split off into another distorted song with no appeal. Its very rare that I would avoid seeing a band live again, but Japanther are one of those bands.

Luckily, Against Me! made up for the Brooklyn’s mishap and stormed the stage with confidence and intensity. Opening with New Wave, the band played most of their major label debut – in fact they only skipped out on Animal and The Ocean as once again James took over Tegan Quinn’s role in Borne On The FM Waves of The Heart. The band didn’t forget their fans who had been there from the start either as they played some rousing renditions of Pints of Guiness Make You Strong, Jordan’s First Choice, Walking Is Still Honest, This Shit Rules, Cliche Guevara, Miami, Don’t Lose Touch and From Her Lips to God’s Ears (The Energizer). Like always, the band opted not to speak, but instead just sang with as little banter as possible. After a demand for an encore, Tom Gable came on and debuted one of his new solo songs, Amputations. It would’ve been nice to have heard Anna Is A Fucking Stool Pigeonor I Can’t See You But I Know You’re There but either way it was still a good way to kick off the encore which also featured Sink Florida Sink, Up The Cuts, and We Laugh At Danger (And Break All The Rules).

Against Me! were as tight as ever, put on a solid show with energy and conviction. However, with a bigger venue came more people; and with a major radio single came more people who don’t normally go to concerts. This made the show slightly less memorable than, say, a year and a half ago at the Dinwoodie Lounge which saw the band playing to 600 people instead of 1,700. Then again, you can’t blame the band for some annoying crowd members.

The Saint Alvia Cartel - Self Titled

The Saint Alvia Cartel

Self Titled

STOMP Records
By

Rating: 2.5/5

 
 

 

 

When The Saint Alvia Cartel released their first single, Don’t Wanna Wait Forever, with the accompanying Blonde Kryptonite track, my jaw dropped. The sound was energetic and stuck out immediately, so much so that I treated the release of the band’s Self-titled debut with great anticipation. However, when the day finally arrived and The Saint Alvia Cartel graced us with more than just the two song single, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

While yes, the rest of the CD follows in the same train of thought as the introductory tracks, it just becomes a bit repetitive after a while. For you see, even though Greg Taylor’s (formerly of Grade and Jersey) vocals are the perfect punk rock vocals as they are rough, worn and harsh but with a melodic edge to them similar to the one and only Tim Armstrong, they also tend to be too low in the mix and ultimately lacking that punch that it so very much needs. The extra vocals from former Boys Night Out singer Ben Rispin suffer from the same problem, they work but are too flat in the mix when they should be taking the forefront.

Still, the album has it’s highlights – and the listener can’t help but love the unique style that is The Saint Alvia Cartel. Merging the punk rock attitude from some of the member’s former bands with a reggae flare, they blend a wide variety of genres together without ever becoming too complex or busy. With a sound like Hostage Life, some light organ use similar to Social Distortion and reggae like The Aggrolites,The Saint Alvia Cartel is a colorful combination of sounds with a little bit for everyone.

It’s just that it ultimately falls short and feels long. It’s an album where you want to pick and chose the songs, play one here and one there and not listen to the album in it’s entirety because when you do, it loses its allure and becomes moderately monotonous. But even through those slightly repetitive moments, there’s still a unique spark embedded within them – the same spark I heard when the first single was released; and while the album may not end up in many year end lists, I’m positive a live performance from The Saint Alvia Cartel would be a difficult one to forget.

Interview: Burly Calling 6 & Saint Alvia

Burly CallingBen Rispin is a busy man. When not touring with his band Saint Alvia, he’s carefully orchestrating a unique festival in his home town of Burlington, Ontario. The festival, dubbed Burly Calling, is entering its sixth year and sees a swarm of bands take over the samll town and playing venues all over the city. What started as a joke tour to raise funds for a full flegde tour as now progressed into something that the entire town eagerly awaits. This year’s edition is special as well as Saint Alvia are set to drop their new album, Static Psalms, in conjunction with the Festival.

We wanted to learn more about the festival and the album so Nicole Pollo had a little e-mail conversation with him to figure out exactly what’s happening this year in the world of Ben Rispin.

Read the interview here and make sure to catch Burly Calling 6 this weekend from December 7th to 9th.

Saint Alvia and Burly Calling

Saint Alvia and Burly Calling

Ben Rispin

STOMP Records
By on December 3rd, 2012 at Email

 

 

Ben Rispin is a busy man. When not touring with his band Saint Alvia, he’s carefully orchestrating a unique festival in his home town of Burlington, Ontario. The festival, dubbed Burly Calling, is entering its sixth year and sees a swarm of bands take over the samll town and playing venues all over the city. What started as a joke tour to raise funds for a full flegde tour as now progressed into something that the entire town eagerly awaits. This year’s edition is special as well as Saint Alvia are set to drop their new album, Static Psalms, in conjunction with the Festival.

We wanted to learn more about the festival and the album so Nicole Pollo had a little e-mail conversation with him to figure out exactly what’s happening this year in the world of Ben Rispin. Read More…

Saint Alvia – Mother’s Day

Canada’s Saint Alvia has released a brand new song.  The track is titled “Mother’s Day” and is set to appear on their upcoming full length, Static Psalms.  Proceeds from the single will go to the Keep A Breast Foundation, with a goal set at $5000 by Mother’s Day 2012. 

Give the song a listen below.

Read More…

   

More Bands Confirmed For The Fest 10

Fest 10Organizers for The Fest 10 have added a ton of new bands to the roster for the sold out Gainsville, Florida event, taking place October 28, 29, and 30, 2011. 

New additions include Monikers, Kyle Kinane, The Emotron, The Forthrights, Scum of the Earth, Worlds, Rivernecks, Alligator, Mouthbreather, John-Micheal Bond, Billy Wallace, Greys (Canada), Pujol, Kite Party, Teenage Softies, Wet Witch, The Fucking Wrath, Arms Aloft, Despite Everything (Greece), the Ex-Boogeymen, Over Stars and Gutters, Unfun (Canada), Liquid Limbs, Nato Cole and the Blue Diamond Band, Sister Kisser, Dig It Up (Canada), Luke Fields, Chicken Little, Charles the Ospery, Nightmares For A Week, Hold Tight, Vena Cava, Timeshares, Rose Cross, Post Teens, Nightlights, Douglas Shields and the X-Factors, Saint Alvia, Die Hoffnung, Chotto Ghetto, Sister Kisser, Evan Rocha, Luther, Party Drag, International Dipshit, Young///Savage, Kevin Seconds, Mauser, Wavelets and  Creepiod.

Previously announced bands include Hot Water Music, Against Me, Less Than Jake, Bouncing Souls, Lifetime, Dillinger Four, Samiam, and Youth Brigade to name a few.

The event is giving away the first volume of Fest 10 compilation freebies over on bandcamp, which can be downloaded here.

New Pictures: The Flatliners / Saint Alvia

Saint AlviaOn February 12th, the legendary Bovine Sex Club celebrated it’s 20th anniversary in style. Playing host to a handful of Canadian bands, including The Flatliners and Saint Alvia, the night’s events are surely yet another landmark to save in the history banks.

Our resident Toronto photographer Lanny Bolger was there to take in the activities and snapped some amazing pictures of the show that night. So check out some amazing photos of The Flatliners here and Saint Alvia here.

And, in case you missed it, Lanny also sat down with the Bovine head honcho Darryl Fine earlier this month to talk about the history of the club. You can read that interview here.

Saint Alvia Presents Burly Calling Festival IV

Burlington punk natives, Saint Alvia have announced the dates of their fourth-annual ‘Burly Calling Festival‘. The two-day takeover of six venues throughout downtown Burlington will be held December 17-18. What began as a sort of jokingly informal mini-tour of their hometown has four years later become a platform for Saint Alvia to share the stage with some of the best up-and-coming and groundbreaking Ontario acts.

Saint Alvia has personally chosen all the bands on this thing, and we love every one of them for different reasons. They’re some of the best new bands in Ontario right now,” says frontman, Ben Rispin.  Despite many different genres being represented, from Rock to Hip Hop and everything in between, Burly Calling promises honesty and integrity with every artist on the bill.  “If you like new music, or if you like to party…and especially if you like both, BCIV is going to deliver the goods.”

The full artist lineup can be seen below:

Read More…

   

Paper + Plastick Announce 7″ Series

Paper + Plastick RecordsGainsville’s Paper + Plastick Records has announced that it will play host to a new 7″ series set for release this summer.  The first two known releases will be veterans Anti-Flag and Ontario genre-jumpers Saint Alvia, with two more to follow by The Ataris an Weatherbox.  Anti-Flag‘s contribution will take the form of their The Second Coming Of Nothing 7″ with the new B-side “Queens And Kings,” while Saint Alvia‘s will include the tracks “Jonxer” and “Get Up and Go.”

Stay tuned for future track listings and artists in the series.

Paper + Plastick Announce 7" Series

Paper + Plastick RecordsGainsville’s Paper + Plastick Records has announced that it will play host to a new 7″ series set for release this summer.  The first two known releases will be veterans Anti-Flag and Ontario genre-jumpers Saint Alvia, with two more to follow by The Ataris an Weatherbox.  Anti-Flag‘s contribution will take the form of their The Second Coming Of Nothing 7″ with the new B-side “Queens And Kings,” while Saint Alvia‘s will include the tracks “Jonxer” and “Get Up and Go.”

Stay tuned for future track listings and artists in the series.

Saint Alvia Kick Off North American Mini Tour

Even with their tour van being stolen last month Ontario’s Saint Alvia will be heading on tour.  The band kicks off a pair of shows with Flogging Molly and The Riverboat Gamblers tonight in Denver, CO.  Later this week, they join Me First and the Gimme Gimmes at the annual Punk Rock Bowling tournament in Las Vegas, NV for a show on Sunday, May 9.  Saint Alvia released their sophomore effort Between The Lines in 2008 and will be entering the studio later this year.

Tour dates can be found below.

Read More…

   
Saint Alvia

Saint Alvia

Ben Rispin, Greg Taylor, Matt Richmond, Greg Fisher, Rob Pasalic and Brandon Bliss

STOMP Records
By on September 12th, 2008 at Edmonton Event Centre - Edmonton, Alberta

 

 

Despite the band having toured through Edmonton a few times beforehand, this was the first time I had the chance to see Saint Alvia (previously known as Saint Alvia Cartel). It just so happened that they had released their sophomore album, Between The Lines, three days prior which made it the perfect opportunity for us to stop for a chat. The interview started with Ben, Greg Taylor and Matt but as the interview progressed more and more members came out of the wood works to discuss the new album, their friends across Ontario, their Juno nod, iTunes and an abnormally long talk about various posters. And no, I don’t remember The Fall Guy – I wasn’t even born yet when it was on TV. Oh well. Enjoy the interview and then check out Between The Lines, which is in stores now. Read More…