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Cookin’ at The Winchester Kitchen with The Worst Pop Band Ever
The Worst Pop Band Ever is the total package - great compositions, unique covers and standup-worthy comedic banter. Deserving of better attendance, the group’s two-set night at The Winchester Kitchen was a highlight of the festival. With Tim Shia on drums, Chris Gale on tenor sax, Adrean Farrugia on keys, and Drew Birston on electric and upright bass, the band showcased the players’ unique ability to jump from jazz to hip-hop flavoured rock with minimal effort.
“Sometimes Things Go Wrong,” composed by Shia, in honour of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' just announced divorce proceedings, began with an electric bass intro reminiscent to the sound of legendary bassist Dave Holland. Birston’s electric bass groove in unison with Farrugia’s left hand on the piano paved the foundation for an eerie melody from Gale’s sax.
It was great to see Shia invite one of his drum students to sit in for the rendition of Nirvana’s “About a Girl.” The tune was introduced by Shia as “a song we’ve never played before with a drummer that’s never played with us before,” adding to the already laid-back vibe of the evening. Seeming unfazed by the opportunity to play with some of the local scene’s top players, the teenaged rookie held his own. Farrugia’s “The Ten Thousand Things” was a particularly adventurous moment - the use of a tribal beat instead of the usual straight-ahead funk-oriented drum groove gave the musicians a wild foundation on which to build their open solos.
Known to fans as WPBE, the ensemble conveys the refreshing image of being a band, something often unseen in the world of the busy freelance musician, juggling gigs and rehearsals. Clearly the product of several shows, recording sessions, and tours the group has surpassed the introductory stages of the panicked rehearsal prior to the gig.
Finishing off the night with a short but sweet encore - their version of “O Canada,” in honour of Canada Day being just hours away - WBPE had the bar attempting to sing along. This was not an easy task for patriots as the band implied dark harmonies to the chord changes as Gale played a liberal interpretation of the melody. Meant somewhat as a joke on the (at this point) talkative audience, that monkeying with the nation’s anthem summarized the bands fun approach to making music.
Mike DeiCont is a budding writer, bass player and a recent graduate of Mohawk College’s Applied Music Program.