It’s not easy being green – no more than it is to be a metal band in a city as full of hipsters as Fredericton.
For Cry Oh Crisis, it’s a hard scene to stick to, but it’s the best, most fun and most worthwhile scene they could imagine.
Jason McKnight, Aaron Malley, Mike Allain, Mike Hachey, Theo Levi, and Rob McFarlane played their first show in April last year. Almost a year later, they’re preparing to go on a nine-day tour with stops in New Brunswick, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.
“[Our music] is very hard-hitting. It’s energetic. It’s non-stop, meant for the live atmosphere. We’ve had shows where people mosh, shows where people jump, and shows where people dance,” said McKnight.
The dream is to one day play music together full time. Allain is studying music business through a distance education program offered by Berkely while he teaches at the Centre for Arts and Technology in downtown Fredericton. McKnight is studying psychology and criminology at St. Thomas University, and hopes to become an RCMP officer “if the music thing doesn’t work out.” For Malley, there is no back-up plan.
The band started two years ago with Malley, guitar, and Hachey, bass, writing songs together. Hachey already knew Allain, drums, and McFarlane was found jamming on a guitar at a party.
McKnight auditioned for lead vocals, and Levi was added over the summer to play the synthesizer and the guitar.
“We spent two years basically just writing,” said Malley, who writes most of the lyrics. “I have stacks and stacks of poetry just sitting around.”
The group writes rhythms and riffs to go with the words, and rewrites and rewrites until it sounds just right. When that happens, said Allain, “it feels great. It feels like we’re actually doing something worthwhile.”
When asked to describe the moment when they know a song is just right, Allain, Malley and McKnight all looked at each other, grinning.
“Everyone stops what they’re doing…that look on each other’s faces,” said McKnight.
That moment was repeated again and again for every song on their upcoming EP Training the Moths. The album will have five songs, including the title track, which is about imperfections and unmet expectations.
And expectations are on the rise, just like the crowds coming out to see Cry Oh Crisis.
“The crowds have been growing. There’s different people coming out. We’re starting to get people that are coming out to see us – they’re not just there because it’s a metal show,” said Allain.
According to Malley, the other big shift has been people starting to come to shows who already know the lyrics to their songs.
Cry Oh Crisis picks up fans and followers and shares their own by playing shows with other bands, whether they’re making a stop in Fredericton on tour or local acts like Mandrill Attack, Pharoahs, and Voices. Events like Metal Mondays at The Capital are another way in which bands get exposure.
“The nice thing about the metal community is that it’s so tight-knit and everyone is so supportive of everyone else,” said Malley.
Cry Oh Crisis play Saturday at Beacon Church in Yarmouth, N.S. and Sunday at Gus’ Pub in Halifax, N.S.
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