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Preview: Royal Canoe with The Receiver at Rumba Cafe

Cassandra Zahran Cassandra Zahran Preview: Royal Canoe with The Receiver at Rumba CafePhoto provided by Royal Canoe.
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Hailing 1,200 miles away from Winnipeg, Canada, Royal Canoe will be visiting Columbus for the second time this 2014 calendar year. The Canadian six-piece is sharing the stage with local band The Receiver at Rumba Cafe tonight. Columbus will surely be experiencing a rare occasion, where two wildly talented acts share one intimate space.

Royal-Canoe-albumRoyal Canoe’s 2013 release “Today We Are Believers” tacked the alternative-indie band on the map, gaining clout and praise from their Juno Award nomination in 2013 (Alternative Album of the Year), and landing them some shared tour dates with Mercury Prize winners Alt-J. Having toured with Bombay Bicycle Club for five weeks during the 2014 Summer season, I was first exposed to the eclectic, varietal sounds of Royal Canoe at The Newport Music Hall back in May. Comparable to the complexity and variation of artists like Beck, Grizzly Bear and LCD Sound System, Royal Canoe transcends genre comfortably and skillfully. Their sound ranges from indie-pop to alternative-rock to experimental-pop, loosely touching on a myriad of additional styles and genres. Royal Canoe serves as a library, housing their original, diverse collections of sounds beneath their fingertips.

Comprised of six tall, lanky, kind-mannered Canadian chaps, the gentlemen of Royal Canoe have maintained relationships with one another for more than a decade. Lead vocalist and keyboard player, Matt Peters and Bucky Diedrger (vocals, guitar) were long-time high school friends during their adolescent pre-punk era, further initiating Michael Jordan (electronic drums), Derek Allard (drum kit) and Brendan Berg (vocals, bass) into Royal Canoe.

“Today We Are Believers” communicates the expressive, personal and abstract facets to the bandmates routine life in Winnipeg. Abrupt shifts from season-to-season alludes to much more than physical landscape.

“A lot of the record represents our hometown,” explained Berg over the phone. “Track ‘Seasonal Fling’ alludes to the moment where Spring is here… you’re sitting against this river bank, and you’ve realized you’ve battled through this graphic, harsh winter… and each and every year, you ask yourself, ‘why am I here?’ ‘Why don’t I leave?’ It’s because, every Spring and Summer, you are succumbed by this euphoric moment where you realize you’re happy, and this euphoric moment brings so much joy.”

Berg shared this enchanting thought with me, removing me from the bar I was sitting in, into this exact, crisp, joyous moment. This is one of the many unique attributes to this record — Royal Canoe tastefully walks the listener hand-in-hand through their personal interpretation of the music. The heavy percussion and the electronic back-beat encourage a cathartic release through dance, making it an ideal sound for larger venues with abundant amounts of energy.

Touring since September, Berg shares the band’s gratitude towards experiencing the scenic beauty that has accompanied them during their cross-country tour with Brooklyn natives, Rubblebucket.

“One thing we love most about touring is getting to see so much of the country,” he says. “All of those subtle spots and transitions from one landscape to another… it’s pretty amazing what all our continent has to offer.”

Some of the highlights mentioned include spending nights in stone cabins in Paledero, Texas and waking up to the majestic red clay mountains; avoiding the wrath of the rattlesnakes; cheering at hockey games; visited The Museum of Natural History; walked the High Line in Manhattan, and treating themselves to oysters and cocktails. With hard work comes a little play, eh?

Royal Canoe will be finishing up their tour soon, stopping in Columbus as the band makes its way back to Canada. Excited and eager, Berg shares the band’s anxiousness to fully begin the process of recording their next record, incorporating influences from Outkast, Beck and Swedish electronic group Knife.

“We want to make music that people will groove to,” he says. “We want it to be accessible and challenging. We want to incorporate those slower, deeper grooves from hip-hop and R&B influences, and continue working with what we know we like, and what we know that works.”

For more information, visit www.royalcanoe.com.

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