The Balconies rock classic sound

There is something inherently exhilarating about Toronto-based rock band The Balconies. With a sound that owes as much to classic rock as it does the descendents of classic rock, The Balconies modern take on an arguably timeless genre of music is not one that should not be taken lightly.

Comprised of vocalist-guitarist Jacquie Neville, her brother Stephen on bass and drummer Liam Jaeger, this trio has the sound of a band twice their size.

The Balconies are slated to perform at Moncton’s Plan B, 212 St. George Street, next Thursday night.

The seeds of The Balconies were planted by the Neville siblings when they were growing up. Jacquie and Stephen had a band together in high school however their musical aspirations fell by the wayside when Jacquie moved on to university.

“After having enrolled in university, I had kind of taken a break from playing in bands, deciding to focus on my studies,” Jacquie says. “It was at university (when) I met Liam who was studying classical guitar but was incidentally on a musical break of sorts himself. After two years, Liam and I decided that we should start a band. Rock music was such a big part of our lives, and I had really missed playing so it seemed natural to come back to it.”

The first call that Jacquie says she and Liam made was to Stephen to round out their trio. While some siblings thrive on rivalry, Jacquie says that the musical bond forged between she and Stephen connected them on a level much deeper and different than anything that either had experienced.

“Once Liam and I decided to start a band, Stephen was the first guy I thought of calling. I had missed having that musical common ground with him in the years that I wasn’t playing. I wanted to get that back.”

The Balconies new EP Kill Count will be released nationally just days before their show at Plan B. Jacquie says that while the influence of Cream and Jimi Hendrix lurks in the background of the songs featured on Kill Count, she says that the success of bands boasting a “classic rock” sound is no mere coincidence, in her opinion.

“As much as I can appreciate bubblegum pop music, I think people are trying to get back to a more organic sound in the music that they listen to,” she says. “The speech that (Foo Fighters frontman) Dave Grohl delivered at the Grammy Awards about the importance of bands perfecting their craft and that it is OK to not be musically perfect all the time really spoke to me. I think that you are going to see more musicians working towards that same goal.”

And though music is being consumed in more ways and places than any time in the past, Neville says that not only is The Balconies music influenced by artists of the past, the group also wishes to help re-establish interest in the concept of a record as a whole. In today’s world of buying individual songs on platforms such as iTunes, Neville believes the album concept is far from dead, and with any luck, her band can play a part in the resurgence of people listening to records as a whole.

“We love the concept of listening to albums as a whole,” she says. “That’s how we were raised; I would walk to school with my Discman or Walkman on and essentially dedicate myself to one or two bands and know absolutely everything they did. That being said though, I believe that platforms like iTunes are important in today’s world just because of the reach that you can have with your music. iTunes has allowed music to be much more accessible no matter where you are in the world.”

Article published in February 24, 2012 edition of The Times & Transcript

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