Courtesy of the Beauties Through their popular and long-running Sunday night…
- Posted on Mar 10th 2011 11:30AM by Lonny Knapp
Six Shooter Records
"You get into a routine when you hit a new city every night. You say the same thing between songs, or play songs in the same order, it's a bit mundane," guitarist and vocalist Shawn Creamer tells Spinner.
He says that traditional touring is ineffectual -- at least in Canada where a band faces 15-hour drives between small-market gigs. So when the band hit the road this spring, in addition to traditional one-night stands, they plan to target specific markets and set up shop.
And this is exactly what the Beauties are doing starting tomorrow night in New York City, where they'll host a Thursday night residency during March at Lower East Side haunt, Pianos. If all goes well, the band plans to roll out similar residencies in both Chicago and Montreal.
"We are hitting places that we know we want to target. Not that I have anything against Thunder Bay and Regina, but I have done that trip so many times; I've never felt that we got what we needed from those tours."
In Toronto, the Beauties host an incredibly popular and long-running Sunday night residency at the Dakota Tavern. Creamer, who is co-owner of the hip watering hole, says his band formed when the group of seasoned musician got together for an informal jam.
"We didn't think we were gonna get another kick at the can. We really had no aspirations; we were just having fun playing this bar every Sunday."
On the strength of these popular Sunday night soirees, the Beauties earned a strong following, developed a reputation as killer live band, and eventually inked a deal with Six Shooter Records. The band released its self-titled debut album last year.
Since the release, the Beauties have spent a fair bit of time on the road, and have played larger venues in support of high-profile artists. Still, they maintain the hometown residency.
Creamer says that regardless the size of the venue, the Beauties aim to connect with and play off the audience. Like one of their influences, Bruce Springsteen -- who the band met after a recent gig at the legendary Asbury Park venue the Stone Pony -- the Beauties apply a blue-collar work ethic to each and every gig.
"Bruce can turn a giant auditorium into an intimate barroom, and we try to apply the lessons we learned at the Dakota to the bigger shows," he says.
Back home, the band's Sunday night jams are always an eclectic affair. Members of local acts such as Metric and Broken Social Scene often drop by to down tequila shots before joining the band on stage.
These impromptu performances keep the Beauties on their toes. The ability to learn songs on the fly recently landed the band a gig backing singer-songwriter Serena Ryder on a cool EP featuring cover tunes by the likes of Kylie Minogue and Band of Horses (the videos for these tracks premiered on Spinner).
"We've learned to communicate on stage, and though we rarely play the same song the same twice, we know where we are going before we get there," Creamer says.
During the band's four dates in New York City, the audience can expect a few surprises. Rumour has it that songwriter Chip Taylor ('Wild Thing,' 'Angel in the Morning'), and Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew might drop by. Either way, the audience can count on getting their money's worth.
Creamer says the Beauties have been writing tunes for their sophomore release and are excited to road test some new material -- plus the band can always be counted for unexpected but well-placed cover songs.
While some bands are happy to play a 45-minute set and move one to the next town, it's likely that the Beauties will keep playing long after last call.
"We've got tons of tunes, and we can play for two and three hours. That's the thing with these residencies; they allow us to play longer and it's a good chance for folks to really get to know the band."