VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 15| Lumber Junk, Paint, Katlina & the Gracious show at Maxwell’s Music House

Review of Lumber Junk, Paint, Katlina & the Gracious show at Maxwell’s Music House on March 28th, 2012.
by: Craig Dubecki
photo by: Tiffany Machado

Where was everyone??  When I was planning to attend the Lumber Junk, Paint, Katlina & the Gracious show at Maxwell’s Music House on March 28th, I figured I needed to get there early as this, being a full, 3-band show, would have a full audience.

I arrived circa 8:30 to a smidgeon of people, most I’m sure were part of Katlina & the Gracious.  That was fine with me as it gave me lots of time to meet and get acquainted with Paul Maxwell.  “Hey Paul…how’s the “Draw Something” app on your iPhone going?  Are you able to get some r&r time away from it?”  Seriously…that’s one fun game to play…very addictive!

Katlina & the Gracious kicked off the night to a small but very into and appreciative audience.  The 4-piece band was perfect opening up the night.  They played a mix of mainly their own songs but with a couple of tasty covers.  I don’t know many bands that incorporate a Cajon drum.  It was mixed in beautifully, especially in their hauntingly seductive song, “Disarm”.  Wow!  Love that song.   Front and center is Katlina Cowan playfully guiding the band through their story telling.  With a combination of innocence and wicked sexiness along with melodic strumming on her Takamine, she constantly played with…better yet, teased the ever-growing crowd.  This was never more prominent that on “Unglued”.  I listened to her sing those words and couldn’t help but laugh at her delivery style.  You had me right there Katlina!  Awesome!

Katlina & the Gracious certainly have a unique, sultry style and I expect them to grow as much as they can dream.  I am definitely looking forward to their return.

“What’s that Paul?  How does one draw a Milkman?  Let me think for a minute.”

What a surprise I had when Paint took the stage.  I had read about them in the previous week’s NightLife.   While the main reason I had attended this event was to see Matt Weidinger and his band LumberJunk, Patrick Finch had written a fine article about their current life and for that reason I was expecting it to be packed, especially with their new release, “Where We Are Today”.

Being the first time seeing them, I acknowledged from their very first song, that Paint is a well-tuned…tight band.  They certainly exceeded my expectations.

Robb Johannes, the frontman for the band, delivered a dynamic performance complete with the precision of a mature and seasoned band.  It’s hard to believe this Toronto band formed in only 2009!

Robb’s three band mates provide all that is needed with great chemistry between bass, guitar and drums.  Maxwell’s has very good acoustics, which was greatly appreciated especially during a couple of their songs where Paint’s drummer started getting into it with room shaking beats.  It got mighty loud in there but at no time was the sound muddled.  Nick Odermatt on bass provided a perfect bottom for every song.  Nathan Da Silva on guitarist was perfect for the style they play.  As I was listening to the songs, I realized this is truly a team band.  No one in particular shines on his own but they all shine as the collective.  That means good chemistry.

I’m not sure how to categorize Paint’s style, which, is a good thing as they can be themselves then.  There is a mix of pop, rock, soul, for sure funk and even a bit of Motown.  This all made for a very entertaining and fun set and the future is all theirs for the taking.

“Paul?  What is that?  She’s written a description for her drawing, “Last or lost on Collar?”  No idea man!  How many people have you sent drawings to and are waiting for their answers?”

Kitchener’s own LumberJunk finished the evening off.  By that time Maxwell’s was getting pretty full but still not close to what I expected.  This fairly new but very up-and-coming 4-piece band right out of KW can entertain any and all audiences.  Witness to that is the Grand River Blues Association’s invitation to the Matt Weidinger Band to have performed not only at the Kitchener Blues Festival Launch, March 31 at the Walper Hotel, but their now officially announced performance inclusion at the actual Festival.

The band has maturity far beyond their years.  Maybe it’s the soul and blues base which, when done well, tends to lend years in experience?  Regardless, to play this music and play it well, talent is needed and LumberJunk has no shortage of talent!

Starting front and center, Matt Weidinger can carry any band.  Yes, I am a huge fan of his.  Matt’s command of the keyboard is second to none.  Even when choosing to pick up his acoustic, his playing is so natural.  It’s his voice however, that really makes the statement.  If I were to listen to him live but with my eyes closed, I would guess him to be in his early 40’s.  Are you 20 yet Matt?  Matt knows how to bring that soul…that passion…from deep within the way a seasoned performer does.  The raspiness is used often to accentuate the emotion.  Yet, it’s never overdone.  He knows what he’s doing!

As with Paint, LumberJunk is finely tuned and their precision and chemistry was apparent.   Darius McKinley provided a solid bottom with his bass playing.  Jamie Alegre laid down a driving beat that worked perfectly with Matt’s keyboard.  This is not a guitar band yet; Darryl Romphf on guitar and background vocals would at times make an argument.  His rhythm playing and fills were just right to compliment Matt.  There was a song near the end of their set however, where Darryl took off into an extended solo.  My mind went back to when I listened to the Layla recording sessions featuring Duane Allman and Eric Clapton.  Darryl would have fit in there perfectly.

Matt?  You’ve got a great band there and you yourself have a very bright future.  I look forward to the Blues Fest already!

“Paul?  That’s what she drew?  Now it makes sense!  Mr. Maxwell, you’ve been a great host!  You tended the bar, greeted people coming in, ensured there was music playing all the time, and taught me a new game!  You are a true entrepreneur.  What don’t you do?”

And KW?  Where were you?  This was a fantastic show at a terrific local venue.  You guys missed it!  Don’t miss this kind of show the next time it rolls through!

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