As if landing a trio of shows supporting Godsmack and Sevendust wasn’t quite enough, Moncton rock band The Motorleague will take the stage of the Moncton Coliseum on Saturday evening with their new record, Holding Patterns, in tow.
The record, the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2013’s Acknowledge, Acknowledge sees the acclaimed, long-running band coming into their own, embracing their punk-inspired past and fusing it with thick guitar riffs that land the record firmly in rock and roll territory.
After having endured a series of line-up changes in the past, Holding Patterns marks the first full-length effort by the group – guitarist-vocalist Don Levandier, bassist Shawn Chiasson, guitarist Nathan Jones and drummer Francis Landry – that has formed the core of the band for more than two years now.
“This is the first full record that features the four of us playing, which makes this album feel much more like a band effort. Not that we aren’t collectively or individually proud of our previous albums, Holding Patterns feels much more coherent and contextual in comparison. Everyone is on the same page,” Levandier notes.
By his estimates, The Motorleague has undertaken in the vicinity of 200 shows in the last two years, performing throughout Canada and the United States, supporting noteworthy acts like the Dropkick Murphys and Protest The Hero, among others.
By the time they hit Toronto’s Vespa Studios to record Holding Patterns with producer Eric Ratz (Monster Truck, Big Sugar), the band was a finely tuned machine.
“Songwriting is a completely collaborative process. The four of us have a good feel for where a song should start and where it should end. That wasn’t always necessarily the case; it is something that has definitely evolved over the last couple of years.”
Levandier says the lion’s share of the songs appearing on the band’s newest record were written in a six-month period leading up to the making of the album.
“We originally went into the project with 12 to 15 songs. Eric [Ratz] ended up sending us back to the drawing board to see what else we could come up with,” Levandier says. “By the time we were done, we had essentially written a whole other album, it just so happened that we ended up coming back to those original songs that we had written.”
Levandier says working with Ratz as a producer proved to be inspirational in more than one way. He notes that early in the process of their getting acquainted, Ratz raised a question that could have held potential serious consequences for the direction that Holding Patterns took.
“He sat us down and asked us if we were going to hold onto being a punk band or if we were going to come together to make a rock record. It was definitely a wake-up call for the band as we’ve straddled both of those genres in the past. Once we pressed forward with the idea of making a rock album, Eric was not afraid to push us to get the best performances out of us.”
Immediately following the Motorleague’s final show supporting Godsmack and Sevendust in Ottawa early next week, the group will be embarking on a tour that will bring them all the way to Vancouver before eventually finding their way back to the Maritimes in late November.
While the group has kept busy playing shows in the lead-up to the release of their new record, Levandier is especially excited to be getting back in the swing of full-blown touring again.
And really, why shouldn’t he be looking forward to it? In addition to being able to treat fans to a new record, the group is among the province’s most highly engaged acts when it comes to social media. When you combine that with their routine undertaking of quirky, and occasionally comical, left of centre promotional efforts to spread word their music to even more people, The Motorleague is arguably poised for even greater things.
“It hasn’t been all that long since we’ve played live, but it seems like it’s been forever since we’ve undertaken a big tour like this. We are all looking forward to being back on tour,” Levandier says.
What: The Motorleague, special guest of Godsmack and Sevendust
When: Saturday Oct. 17, 7 p.m.
Where: Moncton Coliseum, 377 Killam Dr., Moncton
Tickets start at $39.50 plus service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Coliseum Box Office, by phone at (506) 857-4100 and online at tickets.moncton.ca