Friday, May 28
One would think that, outside the mainstream, pop music would be a tough sell. Without a massive budget, how can a simple pop band compete against the onslaught of Nickelback wannabes? Local four-piece Parkers Lime who have won four battle-of-the-bands competitions over the years are doing it and, according to them, the recipe is simple.
"We can play very acoustic stuff in smaller pubs, where they wouldnt want to hire heavier bands because it would blow the place away," says bassist Jesse Robertson. "We can definitely fit different venues."
Named for a friend who brought the two founding members together three years ago, Parkers Lime had an acoustic coffee-shop genesis when vocalist Megan Espersen teamed up with guitarist Tristan Ward. In the subsequent year and a half they were joined by drummer Benny Dupuis and later Robertson. If their well-established victory record is to be believed, the band has used the time since then wisely. Last summer the band honed their skills gigging almost every weekend, learning a lot of covers, gauging audiences and becoming staples in pubs throughout Calgary. Now the band has moved on to playing strictly originals and, although Robertson jokes that it doesnt hurt to have three girls in the band, its clear that their stripped-down pop sound has given them an edge by finding a unique musical niche.
"We just (played) an independent festival in Edmonton
and there were definitely no bands that sounded even remotely like us," she says. "We have such different influences, so when we write a song we dont fall into any kind of genre or style of music because we play what comes to mind and write what feels good."
The release of their aptly-named EP, Demolicious, backs Robertsons play. The four songs incorporate Latin percussion, smooth vocal melodies and a touch of reggae, all under the banner of crystal-clear pop. The elements are familiar Parkers Lime check everyone from Ani DiFranco to Smashing Pumpkins but between Epersens silky vocals and Dupuis almost-snare-free delivery, the result is fresh. This, no doubt, accounts for their ability to win audiences and judges alike.
After so many competitions where they had to take the stage after metal bands had torn it up Robertson can see why they have managed to come out on top.
"Because our music is really different," she sayd. "It kind of turns their head. Its not that basic rock beat in the back."