Prairie band is living the joy in playing heavy metal angst
Metal heads are rarely acknowledged for their sunny outlook, but Barrett Klesko, the lead singer of All Else Fails, is an anomaly.
When he and his band hit Kelowna Saturday for the mini metal-fest that's happening at Dave's Sports Bar, they'll be channelling the deep joy that comes with being on the road into wails of discontent.
"There's nothing better than losing all our money to go on the road," said Klesko from his Edmonton home, noting one of the best parts of dishing out the cash needed to tour Western Canada is getting to see beautiful B.C.
When they're not soaking in scenery, however, he along with guitar player Mike Sand, bassist Seedy Mitchell and drummer Tom Wolf throw everything they have into their live performances, because that's what metal fans want to see and hear.
"People don't come to shows to listen to bands, they come to watch," he said. "Anyone who comes can expect noise and partying and all the fun stuff that comes along with being a metal band."
It's a combination that continually draws in crowds, said Klesko, pointing out metal may not be dominating popular radio these days, but it's a unique genre that continually brings in new fans—especially when it's being delivered in its live format.
"You have chemistry between band members that you don't have with other genres," he said.
"You have aggression like you have with punk, but metal is going to have a higher level of polish."
That said, All Else Fails is a genre-bending band that doesn't turn their noses up at other sounds. Their heart has a metal core, but experience in everything from jazz to punk has prompted them to defy limitations.
"We try not to tie ourselves down and the guys in our band come from different backgrounds," said Klesko.
"I don't know we're pioneering a really new sound, but I don't think there's anyone else that sounds like us."
Their last album—which was dubbed "A Monster of a Metal Opus" in The Edmonton Journal—offers a dark blend of punk, metal and rock that breaks the traditional boundaries of their genre with an infusion of classical music, electronica-influenced synth lines and spoken word sampling.
The album, The Oracle, What Was, Is and Could Have Been, is still new, but it has paved the way for some newer tracks which may be revealed during their Kelowna show.
"We're starting to do some punk covers," said Klesko, noting that it's primarily skate punk they're working with.
"Some songs we're taking liberties with and others we're heavy-ing up."
In one case they're a "metal band covering country songs as punk songs."
"It doesn't matter what kind of metal you play, it is timeless," he said. " At the end of the day people just want to listen to loud music that pumps them up and gets them going."
The band will be onstage at Dave's Sports Bar, 155 Rutland Road South, on Saturday July 16, starting at 8 p.m.
Joining them will be metal bands, Unleash The Archers, Isis Unveiled, The Order of Chaos and Anthrosoire.
The day before they'll also be at the Kelowna School of Rock speaking with students on what it means to be a band on tour.