The Ramona Quimby Band and Bella at Café Deux Soleils
As a music reviewer, if I can call myself that, I go to a lot of shows. I usually take the time beforehand to sample some music online (most of the time, but not always… which has bitten me in the ass on several occasions). Rarely do I go to a show not knowing who the band is, or what they sound like, but when I do hear something, or someone, stand out, I can’t help but write a little paragraph, or what I like to call a “review.” I do extensive research into each band I go see (…), trying to get as much information as I possibly can before I meet them, and a friend recommended this local band which she is totally obsessed with. She even contacted their record label asking when the set time is (now THAT’S dedication). So upon her advice, I sampled some music and low and behold, I was just as addicted to their music as Courtney Love was to cocaine. But even before Bella hit the small stage, a new foursome by the name of The Ramona Quimby Band stepped up.
The RQB is comprised of Kimmy Alexander on vocals and keyboard, Perry Einarson on lead guitar, Benjamin Fox on bass, and Lyell Woloschuk on drums. To be honest, there isn’t much of a background I can write about this band. All I know is they’re all very talented musicians who mildly stepped onto the café stage and put on a nice little musical performance for the Bella hungry fans. I wasn’t planning on writing a review for the opening act, but like I said before, there was something in the air that night, quite possibly the stars were bright (get it?).
The first thing I noticed was the bass. It might be because I was sitting right in front of Ben, but I couldn’t help but hear the intricate and melodic bass lines. He impressed me with his plucking technique, but what surprised me the most was how he was able to incorporate the finger slapping as well.
Everyone was very solid on their instruments, but I do have one complaint. As much as Perry and Lyell were amazing on the guitar and drums respectively, they both drowned out Kimmy’s keyboard and vocals. I had to listen very intently, straining my ear drums at times, just to hear a glimpse of what Kimmy had to offer. This had nothing to do with the band, but more of the café’s sound system. It would have been nice to hear all the songs balanced, but it’s something that was out of their control.
Like I said before, their material was solid. They incorporated both mellow and danceable pop rock tracks (something I would like to see more of actually), which entertained the audience quite a bit. They do need a little more stage presence, or at least one of the members to step out of their shell and take control. However, I did enjoy it when Kimmy stepped up, acknowledged the crowd, and told a corny joke. I don’t know what it is, but a joke like “Why was 6 afraid of 7… because 7 eight 9” just does it for me. Overall The RQB impressed me with their dynamic musicality, something that not every band has, and this is what will band special in the long run.
Formed in 2003, Bella is composed of Cameron Fraser (guitar, keys, vocals), Tiffany Garrett (drums, guitar, vocals), and Charla McCutcheon (keys, vocals). They released their debut album “Pretty Mess” shortly after and toured extensively throughout Canada and the US, playing with the likes of Pretty Girls Make Graves, Imperial Teen, and Phoenix.
This danceable indie-pop album got the attention of the people at Mint Records and they soon signed these indie darlings. In 2007, they released a new album titled “No One Will Know.” Since then, they have captivated audiences on this fine continent, gaining fans with every show they play.
It’s nice to get a little up close and personal when attending a show, and that’s what we were able to do at this little café. We weren’t the only ones, even though our seats were right in front of the stage. People just seemed to migrate right in front of us, even before Bella started their set. I guess it could have been the cover of The Pussycat Doll’s “Stickwitu” that Cameron was playing, but no one really knows for sure. I guess a good indication of how the night would turn out would be the rambunctious crowd that filled the room, who occasionally yelped in between or during songs.
The first thing I noticed about Bella was not their music, but rather their wardrobe. They were all wearing purple, and it’s kind of eerie because so was I! I think I was meant to review this band.
Throughout their set, this threesome had a perma-smile on their faces, which suited their music just perfectly. They played electro-pop rock tracks, reminiscent of the 80’s synthesizer music but with a modern twist, that got the crowd dancing wherever they found room. Even though tables and chairs were in the way, people still managed to get off their feet and shake their behinds. Even the waitress, in between serving drinks, started shuffling around the dance floor.
Bella isn’t a conventional band, where each member just sticks with one instrument. They are all multi-talented, constantly getting up from their designated spots to play each others instruments. They had some amazing and memorable harmonies between all three of them, which got the crowd even more fired up. The audience sang along to almost every song and cheered so loudly at the end, Bella had to step back on stage to play an encore. It’s amazing how strong of a following they have, to get a crowd packed into a small café. Overall, the night was a success and everyone in the room seemed to be having fun. Mission accomplished for Bella.