Bad Uncle Boasts Ambitious Sound

If you looked up the word “ambitious” in the dictionary, there would be a very good chance that a picture of Montreal band Bad Uncle would be featured there.

We’re not talking ambitious strictly in the sense of the band having lofty goals either. After all, how many non-Celtic bands can you honestly say that you have come across that incorporate accordion into their sound?

This is simply status quo for Bad Uncle, a band that makes music suited to an apocalyptic circus. And we mean this in a rather endearing way. In a day and age of bands playing it safe, Bad Uncle is a breath of fresh, much-needed air.

Bad Uncle performs at Moncton’s Plan B Lounge next Thursday evening. Show time is set for 10 p.m.

Santosh Lalonde, Bad Uncle’s fearless leader, vocalist (think along the same lines as Tom Waits but with a deeper tone) and accordionist tells The Times & Transcript that Bad Uncle was formed as a duo in 2007 as a “cheap way to drink and a deliberate experiment in bad taste.”

“D’Arcy Nichol would play a drum set made mostly out of garbage cans, and I played accordion, foot organ bass and growled out obscenities,” Lalonde says. “At the time we called our style of music polkabilly, as it was sort of a recreation of rockabilly sensibilities, but through an accordion. Despite all odds, people started showing up to our shows more and more. We decided to make a real band out of it in 2009, hiring on Hugo Joyal on guitar, Eli Richards on trombone and Ram Krishnan on bass. After a year of this much to our delight and surprise, we were packing rooms.”

While the group may have become unlikely fan favourites in their hometown of Montreal, it is the musical diversity contained in Bad Uncle’s songs that will help them appeal to such a wide swath of music fans.

“We have always been conscious of trying to craft a sound that can appeal to any of the many cliques that exist,” he says. “There is an old timey crust about some songs that would appeal to fans of Tom Waits while there are a few swinging numbers which appeal to the rockabilly crowd. We have a few songs that combine opera with grindcore for all the lovely metal folks where other songs are a bit punk rock where others are bluegrassy or country inspired. If I was going to hazard a handle for our band I would call it operetic-gypsy-surfcore.”

Still not convinced of the group’s ambitious nature? Lalonde shares that the group has just completed recording a 30-minute long song that the group plays while circus performers act out the story contained in the song.

“The song is about an evil surgeon who creates a wife for himself out of the most beautiful patients in the hospital, angering nearby villagers. The song is a little tip of the hat to Frankenstein and other such films. We have already performed on three occasions at festivals and are now looking to launch it on a wider scale in November,” he says.

What: Bad Uncle
When: Thursday Sept. 13, 10 p.m.
Where: Plan B Lounge, 212 St. George Street, Moncton
Article published in September 7, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript