The Mark of Excellence

Departures

Ace Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB, October 13

> > Oct 15 2012

Departures - Ace Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB, October 13
Photo: Nigel Webber
By Anthony AugustineWinnipeg's Departures may be one of the best kept secrets in the country right now, but with the release of their fantastic debut album, Still and Moving Lines, that's all about to change.

Tucked onto a makeshift stage at the back of the Ace Art Gallery in downtown Winnipeg's Exchange District, the noisy post-rock five-piece, made up of close friends Nick Liang, Steve Kesselman, Graeme Wolfe, Rob Gardiner and Alannah Walker have a musical chemistry that can only come from the singular pursuit of creating engaging art, leaving the rest of the baggage of the music industry to work itself out.

Right from the opening number "Pillars," singer/guitarist Liang's presence commanded attention, while drummer Gardiner (Greg MacPherson's band) hammered away at a powerful foundation that would be the bedrock of the more aggressive elements of the night.

For a relatively young band, Departures seemed extremely comfortable shifting between drawn-out melodic moments and punctuated blasts of urgent, controlled noise, using those sonic bridges to tie a common thread through the ebbs and flows of the material on Still and Moving Lines.

Transitioning to the repetitive synth undercarriage of "Winter Friend," the band explored a more constrained groove, while toning down the dense guitar work to give the song space to breathe.

"Left You Here," featuring Walker's vocal and synth contributions, broke up the nearly hour-long set, with the Cannon Bros. member trading off singing duties with Liang throughout the song to add yet another layer to the band's sound. It's a shame that both Walker and Liang's vocals were blurry in the mix, making them difficult to understand at times.

Finishing the night off with the shaggy guitars of "Contempt" and distortion-driven workout of "Being There," it was easy to hear why Departures may be one of the best up-and-coming bands to come out of the province in the last couple years.
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I was there. They're overrated young kids teetering on the edge of indie oblivion. Nice kids, though.
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Well, I disagree. I wouldn't go as far as saying that they "may be one of the best kept secrets in the country right now". The lead singer couldn't even keep a note for goodness sake. I think they need more practice and maybe then they'll get better but the show saturday night left me unimpressed. I likely won't go see them again. Oh and one more thing. The opening band... bad choice, they were so sad and made me unhappy to be there. definitely not the kind of music you would want to pump up the crowd before your performance.
There's a lot of good music in Winnipeg. I don't think the Departures fall into that category.
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I agree with MG, not too impressed, singer can't really sing. They had good energy, but I didn't notice much chemistry and wasn't very engaged by their art. Was bored to be honest...I get the feeling this article was written by someone who knows someone in the band
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Agreed TM. This article seems very biased. It's really too bad because the bad would benefit from some constructive criticism. Anthony Augustine, it would do everyone a service if you attempted to be a little more honest when writing these reviews.
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It doesn't seem fair to make the assumption that this article is biased and call it dishonest. Glad to see you guys are making good use of your lives though.
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Honest critics are hard to find
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Yep, 100% sure none of the members of this band know the writer. Pretty sure he's just a dude attending a show and writing about it. Just like you guys, except with eloquence and structured reasoning.
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Lol @ hipsters
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So the article is biased because he liked the show and you didn't? Based on the comments on the opening band alone it becomes obvious that you are unaware of what sincere music that refuses to pander to a general audience sounds like. It's great that you pretentious people found the need to slag a young band that does literally everything themselves to make music that they deem valuable. Congratulations!
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"Based on the comments on the opening band alone it becomes obvious that you are unaware of what sincere music that refuses to pander to a general audience sounds like."

Orrr he just didn't like them?
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"Singer can't really sing." "Opening band...bad choice." Sorry guys. Don't worry next year the Departures will be playing alongside the Eagles and Michael Buble will be opening. Hope you can enjoy it then.
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You guys can disagree with all the negative opinions that were posted here, but, on my part at least, it has nothing to do with being unable to appreciate "sincere" music or music that's not easily accessible. The singer can't hold a note. It has nothing to do with his style of singing. I like noisy, intense, powerful vocals as much as the next weirdo. If he was up there growling and screaming I would've been happy as fuck, and if he was an average singer singing normally I would've been fine. But he couldn't hold a note.
If that statement pisses you off, too bad. Go practice more so I can see you again in a couple years and get totally blown away and go cry myself to sleep in a beer for being an asshole on the internet.
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Oh, and Slow Dancers were pretty cool.
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TM, I totally agree with you. You are an asshole on the internet.
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I'd rather be that than someone who gets upset when their friend's band is disliked by total strangers.
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Please explain "singing normally" and also list any other requests (bullet points are fine). I will relay the information to the band via their Facebook page if you like. I'm sure they would be glad to alter their sound for your enjoyment.
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Lol. I said that in reference to a certain style of singing. It wasn't a suggestion. Congrats on missing the point of my post and for being an indie fuckhead! Have fun in U1.
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I think the biggest problem with the show was the mix. at least where I was standing the vocals were way too low, the drums way too loud, and the guitars all kind of lost. the album is really great though.
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Sorry man! Must've missed the reference. Never said it was a suggestion though. Can't wait to take "How Not To Be An Indie Fuckhead 101" in University so I can be more like you, a genuine, stand-up person.
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This passive aggressiveness is making me thirsty. FOR GOOD MUSIC.
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CC, I agree that the mix was a bit off at times but keep in mind that an art gallery isn't generally built with acoustics in mind.
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