by Marianne Dowling
Out From Under embrace after a rehearsal held after hours at Piece A Cake Restuarant (business owned by band guitarist Wes Gallant). From left: Jeff Cameron, Alexander Reuss, Jeff Stewart, Michael Stanley, Wes Gallant and Shane Coady.
Good food, good drink, good friends, and the great outdoors; that’s what inspires the guys from Out From Under. So it’s no surprise the band chose to record their first album at a raucous New Year’s party with their friends and fans rather than in the confines of a studio.
All but one of the thirteen tracks on Live at Leo’s captured the band’s eclectic sound at Brennan’s last December (the final track was recorded in studio.) The live music on the CD is fueled with an energy that can only come with playing to a room full of admirers.
“It’s a snapshot, really,” says bass player/vocalist Michael Stanley. “It’s just sort of a live photograph of us. It’ll never be the same again.”
And that’s just the way they like it. Stanley, along with Jeff Cameron (acoustic guitar/vocals), Wes Gallant (electric guitar/vocals), Alexander Reuss (harmonica), Jeff Stewart (electric guitar/vocals), and Shane Coady (drums) consider the Brennan’s gig one of their favourites, but are no in hurry to re-create it. In fact, they go out of their way—and out of town—to ensure all of their shows are memorable and unique.
In the summer, this usually includes playing outside surrounded by trees and flowers. “There are these hippies that have these parties in the summer out in the country. Those are our favourite gigs—outside, playing in the woods,” says Reuss.
For the band, the more unconventional, the better. In the past year, Out From Under has played its fair share of Charlottetown bars, but mixes it up with outdoor shows in Victoria, the Dixon Road, and Brookvale. In Brookvale, the band played in a cross country ski chalet before playing yet another show in the woods by a bonfire.
So whether it’s playing a summer solstice party or a concert for the Green Party (Stanley is a member) the band says this variety makes playing more fun and stops boredom from setting in.
“It’s a different dynamic every time, different atmosphere. That’s what keeps it interesting,” says Stewart. “You don’t want to be stuck in any sort of a groove.”
The dynamics have changed quite a bit for Stewart, Cameron, and Gallant. Just over a year ago, the three were in Under the Hood with bass player Steve Hunter and drummer John McDonald. When Hunter and McDonald quit, the band quickly regrouped with Coady and Stanley. After practicing with the band a number of times, Reuss joined in with his harmonica and Out From Under was born. Since then, the band has been quickly forming a tight bond and seems surprised at how well everyone is getting along.
“I’ve never worked as well with anyone as I have with this band,” says Stanley.
“The camaraderie is more important than the music, I hate to say it, but in a way, I think it is,” says Gallant.
And when your band includes two chefs, one of whom owns a restaurant downtown that doubles as a practice space, there is always enough food around to keep everyone happy.
“It’s an event every time we get together. There are good food, good conversation, and good music,” says Stanley.
This summer the band plans on playing more than just parties. The February 12 release of Live at Leo’s has the band looking at festivals and off-Island gigs.
But no matter where they go, it seems the good times follow. “We’ve been very fortunate,” says Stewart, “We’re a happy, positive sort of band.”