Bucketlist is a huge fan of The Schomberg Fair, and when they had emailed us asking to check out their new EP Take me to the Water Sessions, I immediately called dibs on it. A bonus was I got to see them perform the tracks live at L’Escogriffe on December 6th in Montreal’s Plateau area.
When I saw the stage set up for The Schomberg Fair and White Cowbell, I was a little worried. Guitar pedals and mics were prepped in front of the “stage” on the floor not leaving much room for the crowd. The venue is very quaint with some interesting pieces of artwork around including what looked like to be a Disney Cinderella puking out a rainbow.
Without much choice, we sat ourselves close to the front of the stage by the bar and set our gear down. The bartenders were friendly and gorgeous. The crowd consisted of a very mixed group of people – some girls were sporting Expos t-shirts and superhero uniforms, along with some metal heads, and bearded hipsters.
While waiting for Schomberg to get on stage, bassist Nate, and vocalist/guitarist Matt discussed how their tour had been going so far and mentioned the similarities between Fredericton and Montreal regarding architecture and how they felt nostalgic hanging at the student pub Cellar in Fredericton. Eric was able to relate to the convo as he mentioned having had many beers there.
I listened to Take Me to the Water Sessions before-hand and definitely wanted to hear this band live. The music is very progressive and tells a story. I could see myself getting drawn into it in a live setting; and that is exactly what this band did for me. The tune “Fire in the Dark” is a slower paced gospel track that comes first on the EP, and immediately made me think of the band Three Fish – the similarities between the two are incredible as far as mellow musical experimentation with banjo’s and bass goes. I also love the Tom Waits/Lou Reed-sounding voice Matt gives off, of course complimenting the sound with his own touch. The three members of this band have the perfect tones to match each other. Nate matches his bass with his deep tone, Pete the drummer has the higher tones, and Matt has the balances it out. The best thing about the live performance of this song was when Matt switched from banjo, like a stressed out rock star, and grabbed the electric guitar and played his beautiful melodic solos – making this song so worth watching and hearing live. Nate swayed to the music with his eyes closed. I loved the communication with the crowd and Pete’s effort to speak French. He got assistance in pronouncing certain words correctly bringing a very intimate feeling between the band and the audience. There were laughs shared and smiles all around the room while people focused so much on this band’s performance.
“Razor” is another slow paced track, but when the progression kicks in at 2:45 into the song, the overall insanity of this band’s on-stage energy is mimicked flawlessly; the band’s sound is so powerful.
The Schomberg Fair gives you the best of both worlds. You can kick back to their beautiful gospel story telling of Take Me to the Water Sessions in the comfort of your own home, or get to see them perform an incredibly loud, powerful set giving the feeling of being in your own dream zone. I spent the next day listening to Johnny Cash inspired by this band’s performance and sound.