Clipwing / Lost Love / North Shore / Sit Calm The Handsome Daughter, Winnipeg MB, May 13

Clipwing / Lost Love / North Shore / Sit Calm The Handsome Daughter, Winnipeg MB, May 13
Photo: Steve Louie
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After flying under the radar for most of 2016, Clipwing made their return to the stage last night (May 13) and continued to prove why they are one of Winnipeg's most promising up-and-coming bands.
 
The guys write great, gruff punk tunes that might remind you of No Trigger or the Flatliners, and they translate well into a live setting, which might not be a total surprise. Even if Clipwing haven't released a full-length record yet, the various members have been playing for years in bands like High Five Drive and Triggers. And even if drummer Joel Leonhardt hit the drums so hard he sent a cymbal flying sideways, the band never really missed a beat, and sounded great the whole time.
 
Things kicked things off with "Watch Me For The Changes," which is off an EP they released called Ashford, and that was the bulk of what they performed. The band are playing a cover set next weekend where they play Blink-182's live album The Mark, Tom and Travis Show in its entirety, so they ended up giving the crowd a taste of that by playing "Josie."  The guys closed things off with "Iowa," which is one of Clipwing's best songs by far. Thanks to some crowd heckling, singer/guitarist Marty LaFreniere even took off his beanie and let his long locks run wild while rocking out to that track.
 
Montreal punks Lost Love are on a cross Canada run and were added to the bill as the main supporting act. Like Clipwing, these guys specialize in gruff punk that would fit in perfectly on a label like Fat Wreck Chords. The quartet just released a new LP called Comfortable Scars through Stomp last month, and they started with the opening track "Rocky VII" before going straight into "Take Care, Get Better, See You Never," which will get stuck in your head and is filled with tons of whoa-ohs. The band were really energetic, and seemed to be having a blast, even if the turnout was less than stellar as they ploughed through their set. If anything, their songs probably sound even better live than they do on recordings.
 
Taking a break from the harder side of punk was Kenora, ON's North Shore, who sound way more like Cartel and Say Anything and all those pop-rock bands that were huge a decade ago. The biggest change from the last time they played Winnipeg was the addition of a keyboardist, which definitely gives them more of a Motion City Soundtrack vibe. The band played a brand new song called "Same Things" along with a bunch of old favourites like "Sad Girl" and "Happy," then ended things with "Double Header," which is probably one of the catchiest songs they've ever written — a couple of people up front even started dancing.
 
Openers Sit Calm also shied away from the gruff punk to play stuff that is more on par with math rock/emo groups like Tiny Moving Parts. The newer Winnipeg quartet seems to have formed from the ashes of Art Vandelay, and sound pretty impressive for a band that's still just getting started. The guys launched into their 20-minute set with "Landlord," off an LP called Graphite that they recorded last year in Toronto and still don't have a concrete release date for. The band played a couple more new ones before launching into some older tunes from previous EPs like "Wombat."