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IN-FLIGHT SAFETY, TWO HOURS TRAFFIC -- Sunday (Hamilton)


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Here's a wordy review I wrote of an In-Flight Safety show here in Victoria last Fall.

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“What night is this, a Wednesday?â€

One could forgive the confusion portrayed by In-Flight Safety front-man John Mullane as he looked out over the enthusiastic crowd assembled at Logan’s Pub last week. It was, after all, his Halifax-based quartet’s first ever trip to the Island (Vancouver, that is, not Prince Edward). That said, the respectable numbers in attendance and a familiarity with the band’s music that ran deeper than the handful of Right Coast expatriates who were on hand, would lead one to believe that maybe this was a Friday in Fredericton rather than a Wednesday in the Garden City.

The weekend-esque vigour embodied by the Logan’s crowd was due in no small part to the intensity found in the band’s own concoction of smart, melodic rock and roll. Labeling the band’s sound is tough (a compliment, no doubt), but suffice it to say that if math rock and indie rock were to put aside their differences and make some bad decisions one night after a Shins concert, In-Flight Safety could quite possibly be the subject of their ensuing custody battles. The music is at once powerful and delicate, soothing and edgy.

In-Flight Safety was born in the truck stop town of Sackville, New Brunswick where the members met while students at Mount Allison University in the early part of this decade. Mullane has been at the band’s core on lead vocals and guitar since its inception, and the current incarnation – rounded out by Daniel Ledwell on keyboards, Glen Nicholson on drums and Brad Goodsell on bass – has been playing together for almost four years. The past year has been an exciting one for the band, having seen the first two singles from their most recent release receive significant radio and video airplay, and their first overseas tour (Ireland and the U.K.) now under their belt.

The intensity in the band’s sound comes not strictly from volume or sheer ferocity – though there is plenty of each, anchored by Nicholson’s “turned to 11†drumming and Goodsell’s ambitious but deliberate bass work – but often from their artistic restraint. The group understands that any doofus who knows three chords can play them loud and build through crescendos, and as such Mullane and company keep their music clear of cheap arena rock riffs or Chris Martin-inspired intensity-builders. They opt, instead, for calculated discipline; some of their songs never get to that cheap FM-radio peak, and at times on Wednesday you got the impression that the music (even when in full-on ear-splitting mode) was so fragile it could shatter if dropped from the two-foot stage. These are both good things, and when grouped with engrossing guitar solos (relied on sparingly), safe doses of radio-friendly pop licks and spot-on harmonies (courtesy of Mullane and Ledwell), it’s not hard to understand why the group was so warmly received.

Song-wise, the set drew heavily from the band’s first full-length disc, The Coast is Clear (with the title track and lead single – Surround – providing a killer one-two punch to end the set), which was released this year on Emm Gryner’s Dead Daisy Records. Their five-song EP Vacationland, released in 2003, was also represented throughout the short, 45-minute performance (Mico and Raising the Fawn were also on the bill).

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I'm not surprised that this happened. The Casbah seems to suffer from chronic problems with disseminating information. Prices are virtually NEVER listed on show posters, and there is no other official communication channel to turn to.

SCM listed wassabi as $10, however as we discovered when we arrived, it was actually $10adv/$12door.

The casbah website is nothing more than a barely legible low-res image of the pricing-free concert poster, so there's no help there.

Message board posts are usually more accurate, but having to visit random message boards for this kind of information is a real round about way of doing things.

Even calling the club the day of the show is unreliable as the bar staff does not always know. On top of that, accepting incoming phone calls for this kind of information is horribly inefficient for everyone involved!

I have no problem paying what a show is worth, however it makes planning a bit difficult when you show up and the price is a total surprise. Additionally, I can understand the occasional timing issue where the price may not be set out in time for the poster printing, however that is where a website would clear things up.

The fact that the price is never available leaves a nasty taste of deceit in one's mouth. Is the lack of pricing information an underhanded way of being able to charge "whatever we feel like"? I truly hope not, but it is easy to interpret it that way when the pricing inconsistency is so utterly consistent!

So.. how about turning the casbah website into a simple blog where this info could be posted by management in a matter of a few clicks? It's not the ideal solution, but it's absurdly easy to set up, and even easier to maintain (my grade-school siblings can do it).

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