Fri, Nov 1, 2013.
I never know with these hybrids, should the genre be called pop-punk, or punk-pop? I'd go with punk-pop for Augusta, Georgia's Veara, a four-piece powerhouse coming Sunday and Monday to Moncton and Fredericton. The band has just released its second album, called Growing Up Is Killing Me, and it's about as slamming as you can make it, while still keeping a big bunch of melody, and enough hooks to make it on radio. There's even some hardcore growling going on in the gang backing vocals, but just as quick the band can turn it to ear candy. It's a tough balancing act, and they do it with gusto.
A big part of the punk side comes from drummer Brittany Harrell, a pounder of great distinction. She's not scared to hit 'em loud and hard and often, and doesn't mind the frequent questions about being a woman, and a drummer in a punk band. "Honestly, the questions don't bother me, it's not normal, so I don't mind, I tell 'em how i feel," she says, tumbling across a Pennsylvania highway in the tour van with her cohorts. What she feels is proud of the show they are bringing to the Maritimes for the first time. "We try our best, whether you're playing for thousands or five," she says about the famous energy the band puts in their show. "We do our thing, we go a hundred percent, with a lot of movement. Our bass player Bryan (Kerr) is a sight to be seen, that dude's crazy. They all move around, hopping up and down, and I just hit as hard as a can. I get up there and hit 'em."
What also sets the band apart from others is the value they place on their lyrics. There's no formula stuff here, no writing a song for writing's sake. Instead, the group wants to connect and talk about situations and feelings they are going through, or have gone through, something to which the people around their age can relate. "That's definitely one thing I really enjoy about our band," explains Harrell. "When the guys sit down to write a song, they write about something that we may be going through personally, but they keep it broad, people can say 'I've been through that, I understand."
"One of my favourites is "Between Friends and a Hard Place". That song is about what the band was going through, when people were going, 'Oh you're in a band, that's so cool,' but it was hard a lot of the times. It's not all fun all the time. And anyone who has a 9 to 5 job knows what that's like, sometimes its great, sometimes it sucks, and people can see themselves in the song."
Veara will be at the OC in Moncton on Sunday, and at the iRock in Fredericton Monday night.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).