Show Review: East Meets West

You couldn't see the forest for The Mountains & The Trees and Treelines on Thurs., Mar.10, as East met West at Paddy Flaherty's in Narnia, uh, Sarnia.

Treelines, from Vancouver, BC, and Jon Janes, the man from Corner Brook, NL behind The Mountains & The Trees, recently completed their "Lessons in Geography" cross-Canada tour. Luckily for us, it included the stop in Sarnia, where the Detroit Radio 3 blogger contingent--N2D, Wapuche and jojodillon-- got to meet fellow bloggers cacophonously (of Petrolia, ON) and photographer extraordinaire Christine McAvoy of Vancouver. Word to the YVR3.

This was our first visit to Paddy's, but it definitely won't be our last. Although the stage is a little awkwardly placed (it's set deep enough that the view from the left is disadvantageous), the sound was excellent, the atmosphere authentic and warm (first venue where Yort took her coat off all winter), the food, although a little pricey was satisfying (Guinness poutine, anyone?) and the hard cider (Magner's) delicious. We're looking forward to catching a show there on the patio in the summer-- we were sorry to miss Elliott BROOD there last year.

This was not our first time seeing Jon Janes (here's our post from his show in Aug. 2010 at Windsor's Phog Lounge). We'll never count the times we've seen him because we could never get tired of his gentle, intimate songs and that floral suitcase kick drum. Fortunately, Janes is a songwriting machine: "I just wrote this song a half hour ago," he'll announce, and then play it as if it was an old friend. Expect a new album to complement I Made This For You in the near future.

Treelines-- brothers Matt and Steve Lockhart, Matt Kelly and Grant McKinnon at the kit-- have the look, assurance and sound of a mature band. We had to keep reminding ourselves that they've only been around for less than two years and released one full-length album (self-titled, 2009) and one EP (Young Man, July 2010)

Matt Lockhart, who began the evening with a solo set (and has a solo effort in the works), gets frequent comparisons to Bruce Springsteen. Even playing sans electricity by Paddy's decree ( "Acoustic shows are fun," says Steve, "because they allow us to showcase a different side of our band"), Lockhart and Treelines are less gritty and more green than blue-collar. Instead of a sensibility rooted in a microcosm, their folk-pop-rock speaks to a more national state of mind.                Photos: Russ Gordon

Matt Kelly at the pedal steel.

While Christine McAvoy films...

The Mountains & The Trees (left) and
Matt Lockhart create an on-the-spot
video for a song Janes wrote less than
24 hours before.

Lessons in Geography

When we started this blog last year, the Windsor/Detroit area's three main venues for Canadian indie bands were booking so many shows neither our schedules or budget could keep up with them all.

What a difference a year makes. Of those three venues, only Windsor's Phog Lounge is still consistently showcasing Canadian indie music. Because our passion for this music knows no boundaries, we're enlarging the blog's boundaries. We've already been listing shows at the Ark in Ann Arbor; we'll be adding Sarnia (just over an hour's drive from Detroit) and some significant festivals coming up this summer in London (ON) and Toronto, focusing on bands either from Windsor or who have come through the Windsor/Detroit area. Of course we'll continue to seek out new worlds and boldly go-- oh wait, that's been used. We'll continue to find Canadian indie in Windsor/Detroit and work to bring bands to the area.