It’s called “The New Wave of Classic Rock” and it was officially named earlier this year by music journalists and industry personnel who have tried to encapsulate the recent rise of good ‘ol rock n’ roll. It’s been building for a while now, and started about ten years ago with bands like Rival Sons bringing back the blues into a genre that was primary quiet since the mid 2000s. Now, with bands like Greta Van Fleet and The Struts finding more mainstream success with Generation Z, the appetite for rock music has only continued to grow.
Enter Crown Lands – the Canadian duo comprised of Cody Bowles and Kevin Comeau who have happily filled the prog-rock void in the new class of rising rock bands. They’ve toured with everyone from Jack White to Rival Sons, but were forced to postpone their own tours because of the pandemic. Luckily, the band was able to kick off their Big Wave Tour across central Canada which peaked last night with a sold out show in Toronto.
Performing at Toronto’s Axis Club (formerly the Mod Club), Crown Lands began the show with an old favourite “Mountain,” before quickly shifting to their most recent single, “White Buffalo.” Easily the most danceable track in their catalogue, “White Buffalo” hyped up the crowd, who collectively started dancing along to Comeau’s euphonious guitar riffs and licks.
Just like their dynamic catalogue of music, the band’s live show exceeds typical expectations for a standard rock n’ roll band. They don’t hold back when it comes to fancy lighting or lasers and the pair command the stage like the’ve been performing together for a lifetime. But it all makes sense – when you’re performing 13 minute prog rock epics, you need a stage production (and attitude) that’s equally exuberant in nature.
Musically, the band completes their sound by simultaneously performing multiple instruments throughout the show. At any given moment Bowles takes care of vocals, drums, and a multitude of other percussion/woodwind instruments while Comeau hops between his electric and acoustic guitars (thanks to the help of a guitar stand), but without neglecting the bass pedals and keys… and this is all in one song! It’s fascinating to watch the controlled chaos on stage which make’s their musical camaraderie all the more impressive.
The show ended with more elongated favourites including, “Context: Fearless Pt.1,” “The Oracle” and “Waterfall.” Mix in a few necessary guitar solos, drum solos and solo performances from both Comeau and Bowles, and the band successfully left the crowd yearning for more. As more shows continue to be scheduled for 2022 it’s crucial that any rock fan sees Crown Lands live. As some have said, they aren’t just a Rush cover band, but are perfectly wonderful and weird in their own right. More than a few bands continue to try and capture the sounds from the seventies in their music, but its Crown Lands progressive approach to musical storytelling that sets them apart from the rest.
Crown Lands play Ottawa on December 3rd and Montreal on December 4th, tickets here.