Monday, March 9, 2009

Quick Hitters:: BIGIDEAS


Considering the small size of Halifax West in the mid to late 90s, there are a surprising number of people we went to school with making a go of it musically. Obviously, the Thrush Hermit alumni are the most well known, but when you start looking at the some of the other artists (Ruth and Gabe Minnikin, Andy Patil, and David Christiansen), the list starts to get long and impressive.

The thing that binds these artists together is the fact most play songs (or in bands) that give off either a classic rock or beautiful back porch vibe. When it comes to Halifax ex-pat Bob Mills and his band BIGIDEAS, they aim high and write songs that are more suited for radio waves and arenas than smoky clubs. The new record - Steady State - is full of piano driven anthems and you get the distinct impression the Toronto based quartet isn’t ashamed of the fact they write songs for the masses instead of the people in used clothes and horned rimmed glasses.

Mills is a confident front man, and without question the band prefers to build soaring arrangements. In Line offers up a bouncy bass line, keys and gentle strums of an acoustic, but it’s the power packed in the chorus that makes the song stick. Like another Toronto band that got some heavy airplay a few years back – Pilate Speed – BIGIDEAS manages to blend the line between their Anglo influences and the popular sounds of Canada’s biggest urban centre. Patching Holes booms out of the speaker with some nice electric work and a driving rhythm section but Mills is just as comfortable stripping back the layers and slowing down the tempo (Vanishing Point).

I’ll be completely honest. I’m not really one for arena rock and I only listened to the record because I coached Mills in basketball many, many moons ago, but after a few songs the image of a Junior High kid missing layups vanished and was replaced by one of talented, radio ready performer. I think once people starting hearing this band playing shows in Toronto, they are going to make the jump from big ideas to big crowds and even bigger things.

For our TO readers, here's some info about their CD launch - 20 Mar 2009 21:00 The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, Ontario

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