The Pack A.D. w/Grey Lands • June 6

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THE PACK A.D. with GREY LANDS
Monday, June 6, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm, show 8:30pm • 19+
Tickets: $12.50 (+SC) advance, $17.50 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here << 

Destruction and melody, acid wit and bruising vocals—this is the Pack A.D. Singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller have made a sound so gigantic, so fierce and raw and empowering, that it’s easy to forget there are just two people behind this brilliant, carefully constructed havoc.

Shredding and pounding their way through every song, the Pack A.D. swallows you whole inside their fearless Franken-blend of heavy psych-pop/garage-rock. Their lyrics are wild nests, human and complex: darkly funny disclosures about depression; indictments of digital excess; grief-stricken fire bombs; sly crusades against stupidity. The Pack A.D. is also one of Canada’s “must-see” bands.

Be it a massive stadium or the slightly seedy bar where everybody’s shoes stick to the carpet, the Pack A.D. have owned every spotlight and stolen every show they’ve ever played. Becky and Maya are relentless and riveting, playing with the kind of fuck-off freedom that makes everybody in the room vicarious rock stars, even if it’s just for the night.

For his first album as Grey Lands, Wayne Petti returned to the musical country he came from. Songs By Other People is a solo album that isn’t solo – Cuff the Duke’s frontman reimagining the songs of others, with the help of others, everyone gathered in a warm, electric sound.
“I wanted to acknowledge where I had been, musically,” Petti says. So there are songs by Bob Dylan and Buffy Ste-Marie, by Sloan and M Ward, all filtered through Petti’s prism. The music is burred and confident, far noisier than Petti’s previous work. And his choice of pals gives the material a scrappy quality: Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor, shouting beside Petti on Dylan’s “My Back Pages”; Sarah Harmer, coyly duetting on Lee Hazlewood’s “Sand”. All of these guests, from Keelor and Harmer to Joel Plaskett, Hayden and Randy Bachman, are musicians Petti has supped with or toured with or meandered alongside, over kind grey lands.
Maybe Songs By Other People is the sound of friendship. Not just the sound of friends playing together but the sound of affinity itself, of crisscrossing spirits. Maybe it’s friendship, not feedback, that fills the corners of Grey Lands’ songs. This ain’t hokey, it ain’t dumb mush: if lust can be captured on magnetic tape, or rage can, or regret, then surely friendship’s allowed too. And is there any truer metaphor for love than singing the words of another person’s song?

Even knowing the back-story, Grey Lands’ ragged team-ups feel unexpectedly intimate, personal – pop-rock and psych-folk sent out clearly, sincerely, from player to listener. And for all its thunder and reverb, Songs By Other People is still a thing of loud melody: a classic’s a classic for a reason, and Petti’s never unfaithful to his best friends. These eight songs, this gang of co-conspirators – it’s its own ringing, rowdy jukebox. Enjoy.