Tuesday, October 20, 2015

First/Last-The Elwins

"Taking the best bits of pop and rock music from the past five decades (despite the guys having only been alive for a little over two), The Elwins have delivered a dose of dancy bliss that appeals to virtually anyone. “We definitely like making songs that make people want to move,” Sweeney says – and move they will."

The Elwins are a pop rock band from Keswick, Ontario who are touring behind their latest effort "Play For Keeps". The band play in Pittsburgh tonight (10/20) at Spirit supporting blog faves Cold Fronts. I want to thank Matthew Sweeney (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Ween “Quebec”. I was late to the record purchasing game. Before this I guess I was just opting to borrow my buds' copies of “Big Shiny Tunes”.

Your last album bought?
Born Ruffians “Ruff”. This record is sick. The production is more balls to the walls than normal for them. It almost sounds like something that they made in a treehouse or something. It's pretty DIY vibes and filled with a childlike, unrestrained imagination.

Favorite album of all time?
The Flaming Lips “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots”. I fell in love with this record during my high school days and it's always had a sentimental hold on me.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
William Hung “Inspiration”. I think we all fell in love with William when he captured America's heart performing Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" on American Idol (September 2003). When I got the record, I was expecting to fall in love a little deeper. Part of me feels like he didn't take the record very seriously... so much so that it comes across as a joke.

First concert attended?
Polkaroo. I don't remember much about this but my mom tells me that I was digging it pretty hard.

Last concert?
Born Ruffians acoustic set in a vintage clothing show. These guys are freaking amazing live. It was so cool to hear Luke's voice without the loud guitars and drums. What a set of pipes that guy has.

Favorite concert ever?
The Flaming Lips performing at Sonic Boom this year. It was such an honour to perform on the same stage as one of our all time favourite bands.

Least favorite concert?
Wow. Our last show of SXSW 2015. It was going to be our 6th show of the festival. We had decided that after the show we were going to start the long, late night drive back to Canada, a daunting task that was weighing heavy on our minds. It was an outdoor show and the weather wasn't being too cooperative (☔). When we arrived to the location to load our gear we learned that things were running pretty behind and that our set start time got pushed back an hour (this made the long late night drive an even later one). After (what felt like almost an hour of) trying to find a parking space on the busy streets of Austin a spot opened up near the backstage of the show. We waited in the van for our time to play for hours as the rain poured down and turned the show area into a mud field. We hadn't done a whole lot of research as to understand who it was that we were playing with but while we waited in the van we got to know the music quite well. It basically sounded like someone playing an audio recording of someone being tortured, the devil, loud industrial noises, and feedback. The singer of the band was screaming so loud that he totally lost his voice during the set. This was the last straw for most of the people that were braving the weather and mud to see the show. We were to follow this act. We finally started setting up the stage to perform for the handful of troopers that remained. As we were about to start our set, the organizer of the event came up and told us that we couldn't play because they got a noise complaint and the cops were shutting down the show. We couldn't believe it and just started laughing. In a way we were relieved that we got to get going on the long drive back. We thought that was the end of it... we headed north for Toronto and decided that we would stop at a motel once we couldn't drive anymore. We started to get tired after 3hrs or so into the drive and decided to pull off the highway. No vacancy. We drove a few more miles down the road to another hotel. No vacancy. We parked and started calling around. No vacancies. None. Not in the city we were in or the next few. At this point it was so late (or early) that the 12 noon checkout wasn't too far around the corner. We finally just decided to do the whole drive to Toronto in one swift kick of the gas pedal. At this point I traded off with Feurd and he took the wheel. The next thing I knew I woke up and we were a few hours from the boarder at a Wendy's. We got some salads and Travis found out his brother was getting married. The nightmare was over.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh Penguins! I haven't chilled in the city so I'm looking forward to that. Any recommendations?

Thanks, Matthew. I don't know how much time you have in Pittsburgh but you are playing in the Lawrenceville neighborhood and there are lots of cool things to do down there.

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