Show Review + Video: Paper Lions & Oh No Theodore!

Show Review: Paper Lions + Oh No, Theodore @ The Capital Complex – July 13th

By: Penelope Stevens

From haircut disasters to dog deaths and my day of birth, Friday the Thirteenth has never served me well. But this time, fortunately for me, was different! All good things for me, the most notable being the Paper Lions show at the Capital (a less-than-convincing segue, for which I apologize).
When Fredericton is hot, the Capital is much hotter, and this proved to be true on Friday night. Despite sweaty brows all around, bands managed to keep energy levels high and well maintained straight through to last call.

Oh No, Theodore!:

Well into their second year of musical existence, Oh No, Theodore! shows no signs of slowing down. Fredericton natives, the Theos have obviously carved out their place in the hearts of locals. They consistently add new songs to their set while reworking old jams to keep their set fresh, and exciting. Having seen the band evolve over the past couple years, I am genuinely looking forward to what they will come up with when they return to the studio later this month. Keep your eyes peeled for an EP release from Oh No, Theodore! in the fall.

Although peppered with the hits, the best part of their set was certainly the array of new songs they presented the eager crowd. These songs, particularly the set closer and a never-before-played tune, showcase the best skills of the band and show genuine improvement in other areas. I found the new songs to be earnest and interesting, maintaining the flavours of Oh No, Theodore! that have served them well, while still showing experimentation and development of the band as a whole. Lead singer Jeremy’s vocal stylings and lyrical content show drastic improvement from efforts put forth on We’re All Underachieving (2011), and the band is now showing a general mastery of their instruments. Alethea Dinkin’s verbed out violin and Lukas Bailey’s cello work in tandem with Kyle Albright’s simple but appropriate guitar style. I was pleased to notice that Oh No is trading in their old habits of obvious unison for a more diverse and varied approach to melodies.

Although stage energy was a bit low, the crowd picked up the slack, particularly during Neurosis and Bloody Hands, jamming and sweating hard until the abrupt ending of their cannibalistic finale. As the crowd surged the bar in search of rehydration, it was clear that Oh No, Theodore’s set was worth a bit of harmless perspiration.

Check out Oh No Theodore’s tunes here.

Paper Lions:

Everyone thought they could sweat no more after Oh No, Theodore’s! set, but they were very, very wrong. I swear, by the end of Paper Lion’s impressively clever and enjoyable set, the floor maintained a centimetre of perspiration and beer. Clever is as clever does, and of course, Paper Lions started the set off with “Sweat It Out”, much to the approval of the crowd. It was Friday and everything!

Paper Lions is a indie-pop-rock (whatever that is) band that pursues the most pleasurable sounds this side of the eardrum; they are, as some affectionately call it, intentional ear candy. Perhaps their most admirable trait is each member’s ability to resist the temptation of overplaying, all in the name of the song itself. There are a lot of good bands, but the best bands are the ones that can write a song, rather than just an arrangement of parts. Obviously musicians with strong technical skills, Paper Lions shy away from flashy solos and busy riffs, opting instead for seamless blending of each instrument into a cohesive idea. And that, my friends, is why every Paper Lions song is a good song.

I will admit, shameless pop is not for everyone. Perhaps it feels too good, and that’s why mean people are mean about pop. I, too, was once a pop-hater. But no one should be ashamed of feeling good about a song like Philadelphia, telling the tale of a McPheefamily vacations, or “Polly Hill”, expressing our love/hate relationship with small Maritime towns. Paper Lions meditate on the things to which all of us can relate, such as mothers and friends, lovers and “douche bag guys”, while still bringing a fresh perspective to the table. Ghostwriters, Paper Lions’ obvious masterpiece on their recent Long Creek EP, is a perfect example of this.

Perhaps my description of Paper Lions as shameless pop is slightly deferential, and it ought not to be. I do not mean to say that Paper Lions is generic by any means. Possessing their own signature guitar tone and a quirky, punchy drum style, Paper Lions is a fresh take on pop. They have the ability to simultaneously rock a greasy riff, melt hearts and moisten eyelids. They even know how to do all three in a single song.

Thanks to impeccable 4-part harmonies, Colin Buchanan’s acute guitar sensibilities, compelling lyrics and a Farfisa, Paper Lions has no perceptible faults. They plan to make a release in early Fall, and by the sounds of their set on Friday night, it promises to be as thoroughly immaculate as their previous releases, with an added level of mastery and intention. They played for well over an hour, dripping sweat from every limb and instrument, yet left the stage with a smile on their face; no doubt because they could feel the sense of accomplishment and importance reverberating from each audience member. The crowd persevered through hell and high humidity to catch every second of the Paper Lions set, and there was no doubt in any mind that it was worth it.

Paper Lions’ Long Creek EP is available for free download here.


By: Cedric Noel

Paper Lions-Don’t Touch That Dial:

Oh No Theodore-Miles Away:

We seem to be very busy people here at Fredericton Locals BUT we will have more videos of songs and interviews from this past weekend up soon, we promise! Stay tuned!


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