SHOW PICK OF THE WEEK
Story by Ashley Lewis
Photo by Courtney Lee Yip
“Our band is a lot about the live performance, being a part of the energy.”
When I called Liam Jaeger from The Balconies this week to chat about what the band’s been up to this summer I heard one word repeatedly in our conversation; energy. And does this band ever exude it.
The Balconies, consisting of Liam, leading lady Jacquie Neville and her brother Stephen Neville, are an alternative pop/rock trio. Liam and Jacquie met in university where they studied classical music. The band lived and played in Ottawa but eventually made their way to the big city of Toronto to truly start their music career.
With a name like The Balconies I thought there had to be a story behind it, but it was just suggested by a friend of the band’s. He said the reason it stuck was partially because it wasn’t taken yet. Every time the band would think of a name they liked they’d find out it was already claimed by another artist. Either way, Liam said the name suited their character perfectly. When I asked how, he said that “a balcony is seen as a bonus feature of any room you’re in…and [their] music is always like that. Kind of energetic, upbeat and positive.”
The Balconies released their Kill Count EP in February of this year. Their first record was independently recorded and released in 2009 but it didn’t have the luxury of a studio album. Liam said people couldn’t understand why the band had such a strong live performance and yet their record was lacking. This time they did things right. Carrying over three of their previous songs, each recording is proportionately packed with a punch. It’s not hard to get tangled up in the music. The band focussed on their live performance has strategically added drum rifts, strong bass lines and harmonies that are easy to shout and jump along with, an important factor of a live show. Liam says that “pop music is always rhythmic driven” and their band is no different.
“All our music is a jumbly mess of influences.” It stems from their admiration of high energy performers; Jimmy Hendrix, Nirvana, the Police, Green Day. “We want to go for that super intense rock and roll experience.” And they’re able to with Jacquie as their front woman.
“The way that Jacquie performs and is able to man the audience gives us a unique edge.” People have been shocked by Jacquie’s strength as the only guitarist in the band. Liam says it’s not as common for a female to be the only guitarist.
But the bands talent goes far beyond the instruments they play for The Balconies. Just to name a few; Jacquie plays the viola, violin and guitar. Liam plays the drums and classical guitar and Stephen plays bass and all three play the keyboard.
Liam says one of the best parts of The Balconies summer was playing for five to six thousand people in Lockport, New York. The band had never toured there before and they were overwhelmed by the support and turn-out. I think these large crowds could continue to be a pattern for these three. There’s only more good things to follow.
For now they’re just letting the EP do what it’s supposed to do, build a fan base and expose their music. They’re hoping to release another music video in the fall. In the meantime, September will consist of a bunch of shows at various frosh weeks, along with some touring of Western Canada and the States. They’re also kicking around a new record, taking their time to perfect the formalities and technicalities of the music.
Catch The Balconies:
Sunday, August 5th @ Lee’s Palace (Toronto)