By Jennie Orton
CALGARY — Noble Thiefs were sitting on Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue enjoying some downtime before their Fringe Festival gig. Front man Myron Dean has just returned from his daily workout, guitarist Riley Hastings sits stringing his guitar and bassist Ian Lodewyks is on the phone with a journalist — it’s all business as usual on the touring circuit. The difference? They’re doing so from a hotel room set up for them by the show promoter. The band was too busy on the touring schedule to add the date to their vehicular map, so the Fringe folks flew the band in to open the festival’s first night. Lodewyks sees this as proof of a turning point.
“Our first time playing Edmonton our van broke down, we slept on the floor and used a friend’s kitchen to cut back on costs. But, we killed it that night. And every trip here has been the same, but with bigger and bigger crowds.” Lodewyks can feel the energy of this change of pace livening up the band. “This is the first time we get flown in to this city, get set up in a hotel, wined and dined. With morale so high today, imagine how many new fans our live show will garner tonight”.
It makes sense that morale would be high: the band has been toiling on the road for the last year in support of their debut album and follow-up 7”, and have been slowly but surely turning people on to their fresh take on that ‘50s soul/rock sound. The band, featuring members from many different musical backgrounds, fuses punk rock energy, soul backbone, bebop stage hype and good ol’ rock and roll swagger to develop their own unique genre and a lore-worthy stage presence.
“Travelling around with a 6’2” average height and a charismatic singer who is always ‘on’ means we’re starting to get recognized,” Lodewyks says. “It usually takes someone seeing one song live to get ‘em on board.” He has a good natured laugh after that comment that shows the genial but real confidence in their ability that has made this band such a diligent force.
“A big word for us nowadays is ‘compromise.’ Our words are uncompromising, but in a day where the competition is using every trick in Pro Tools, punks like us need to compromise to compete with the big guys,” Lodewyks admits. “Keeping up with recording quality is key.”
The band just spent the summer recording a yet-untitled follow-up album of 14 tracks, which is still evolving in production and due to be a fully formed entity next spring. But, it is the inevitable tour in support of it that the band knows will truly represent what they offer.
“Any band that wants to cut their teeth has to prove it live, any real band. It was kind of in our blood to do that, too — we’re all kind of performers at heart, so we knew the live show was essential, because, these days, anyone can doctor up a good album in the studio, but the live show is gonna speak novels.”
This particular live show seems to have been speaking loud enough. As the band enjoys the step up to “drinking in green rooms rather than alleys,” larger and larger audiences are seeing the light.
When I spoke to Lodewyks the morning after the Fringe gig, he was characteristically jazzed, citing the family-friendly crowd as a unique chance for them to excite a new demographic. “The front row was averaging eight years old. Myron jumped down and sang right to them. That’s the kind of stuff that sticks with a kid and hopefully turns them into a performer.”
This is a band whose enthusiasm is infectious. In a touring landscape of bands hustling trends and taking themselves and their images extremely seriously, Noble Thiefs are just out there kicking ass and enjoying the well-earned jet stream, from the window of a plane someone arranged for them just so they would play at their party.
Catch Noble Thiefs at the West End Cultural Centre (Winnipeg) on September 19th, at Wild Bill’s (Banff) on September 25th, at Republik (Calgary) on September 26th and at the Pawn Shop (Edmonton) on September 27th.AB, Alberta, Manitoba, MB, Pawn Shop, Republik, The Noble Thiefs, West End Cultural Centre, Wild Bills