Sunday, October 29, 2006

My Friday Night In Safe Hands

My neighbourhood is a pretty small little section of town - just a cluster of homes in the suburbs of Quyon. Not much happens around here; it's usually pretty quiet.

But we do have a claim to fame, and that would be the band In Safe Hands, featuring Randy Frobel on vocals and guitar, Troy Cluff on lead guitar, Tyler Coté on bass, and Troy Kilbride on drums. Two of the current members (and one ex-member) of the punk-rock band originate from the Stanton Road area, and as far as I know, band practices are still held at the Frobels' house just around the corner & up the road. Oh, and "band manager" (and rockstar-wannabe), Bucky Fleck, is also a resident of Stanton Road.

I still feel a bit nostalgic when I get the opportunity to hear the guys play. It doesn't seem like all that long ago I was paying fifty cents to get into Patti & Randy's garage to watch the guys do their dance routines to Backstreeet Boys songs. Wait, that's not being fair to the Troys. The only In Safe Hands members who ever partook in those performances were Randy & Tyler. But I do remember Randy's mom Doris warning me, "You know, someday these guys could be famous, and you can say you saw it all begin right here in this garage."

Alright, so they're still far from the big time, but I must admit, they've come a long way. The last show I went to, they were very much an amateur band playing to a very small crowd at the RA Hall in Shawville. Then, about two years ago, I was invited to sit on a few practices at the Frobels', and they were working on some new tunes for their upcoming album. Since then, that album has come to fruition (and it's a professional, unique, and thoroughly enjoyable 5-song compilation of original In Safe Hands material), and the guys have continued to play shows in the Ottawa area. Friday night's Halloween extravaganza featured three other bands, with In Safe Hands as the headliners, and all proceeds going towards getting In Safe Hands back in the studio to record a new album for their growing legion of fans.

I arrived on the scene at the Lion's Hall shortly after 8 pm, narrowly missing the opening set from Harmonic Distortion, a band based out of Shawville, who give credit to In Safe Hands for giving them the inspiration to form their group and helping them get gigs. Then, a new band called Hopeside took the stage, and they were decidedly pretty bad. However, as Randy explained to me later on, they were once an up-start band that needed a few breaks, and there were bands who gave them a stage to gain experience and work out their kinks, which is exactly what the kids in Hopeside need right now, so kudos to the guys for allowing them to do so. And they did do a wretched cover of Hinder's "Lips of an Angel", and although it thoroughly sucked, at least I could sing along to a song I knew. (That's a rarity for me at one of these shows. Would you believe I'm not much of a punk fan? I like Fallout Boy and Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World. That's about as punk as I get.)

The next band to take the stage was a group called Lights Over Arkham (I think. I prefer to call them the Knights of Columbus, 'cause it's easier to remember). There were a few handsome boys in this band, once I looked past the punk attire and weird hair-do's. To be fair, they very much blended in with the crowd. I was the one sticking out like a sore thumb. Aside from a few parents, I was likely the oldest person there, and I just don't own any clothes suitable for blending in at an In Safe Hands show. Nevertheless, these boys were kinda cute. And their showmanship was excellent. Their banter between songs was hilarious, as they encouraged the young crowd to get their butts to the back to buy In Safe Hands merch and help get the boys back in the studio. And then one of the guys said, "But if you don't like their shirts, and you don't like their songs, just hand them fistfuls of cash, okay?" I wasn't a huge fan of the few songs they played, but they seemed like genuine guys with good hearts. Plus, I think the lead singer (who looked like Chris O'Donnell with bushy hair) was making eye contact with me. That set my heart a-flutter.

And then, it was finally time for the long-awaited set from In Safe Hands. In the spirit of Halloween, the boys had dressed as an '80's hairband, donning big wigs, bandanas, tight jeans & vests. Tyler wins the big prize for most daring costume - aside from his spiky black wig, he managed to wriggle into a pair of skin-tight leather pants and he went bare-chested beneath a shiny black leather jacket. For those of you who remember that I had a crush on Tyler not all that long ago...yes, this costume did delight me.

Thanks to having my copy of their CD "And the Memories Last Forever" in regular rotation in the Rav, I was able to sing along to a few of their songs, including "For Everything You'd Say" and "The Last Song". It was weird, because I was there to witness those songs being born a few years ago at their practices at Frobels'. Now those songs are staples at their live shows, with many of the kids in the crowd singing every word. I was also excited to hear a few of the new tracks that they're going to have on their new album. Quite appropriate for their wardrobe selections, they closed out their set with a high-energy, crowd-pleasing cover of Motley Crue's "Kickstart Your Heart". (And it was great to see the guys of the Knights of Columbus standing on the sidelines near the front, leading the crowd in the over-the-head-clapping thing).

I may be a bit biased, but of all the bands I heard play, In Safe Hands were definitely the most polished and professional, and they have a radio-friendly sound that really resonates. They're not quite mainstream, but I don't think they want to be. That being said, I can see why they've gained respect on the local music scene, and while they may never be a huge hit, I think they'll only garner more popularity with their upcoming disc and more shows in the Ottawa area.

I also truly admire the fact that this show was an all-ages alcohol-free event. It allowed many younger kids to attend - including my little neighbours Brittany & Cowan - and gave them something exciting to do on a Friday night. In Quyon, there's not a whole lot of excitement for the kids who are too young to get into Gavan's (and even then, calling it "excitement" is a bit of a stretch). Many of the kids came in costume, and the hall was decorated for Halloween, which added to the atmosphere. I was one of the lucky winners of a bucket of candy, and I also coughed up $15 for one of the new In Safe Hands t-shirts. Overall, I definitely had a good time & I was really glad I went.

Check 'em out on-line:


Sharon said...

Well sounds like it was a great show Jill. I wish I could have gone. But I was up and leaving at 7:30 for a day of manic grocery shopping. We tried out the new Food Basics on Merivale Road. And for all you grocery shoppers out there, DO NOT GO THERE! Things are not cheaper. Isles are TINY. And they don't have a selection at all. We were UTTERLY dissappointed!
Farm Boy was uplifting after going to Food Basics and CostCo had some fun stuff for Christmas displayed. I purchased the OC season 3. Finally watched the episode where Marissa dies. It was sad. But she was a drama queen and I am glad she's gone. Lets face it, we all know she wanted out of ths how so they had to kill her off.
We then proceeded to Loblaws to make up for the gross food basics and Canadian Tire where I Christmas Shopped and got my dad covered and part of Gardells gift.
Then we went to the Quilt shop and I got some flannel to finish my flannel quilt. And I bought a few things for my mom for Christmas. I am on a good start this year, I hope to be done by the end of November... maybe even before.

Stacy said...

Good review of the band but i really don't enjoy them. I dont like punk and it does not interest me whatsoever, maybe it's the whole Jovan getting kicked out because he had a life thing that kinda turns me off. Anyways, my weekend was very boring...and what was with the weather. We didn't stary too far - we had to go to Shawville to get some nails and some plastic to do our windows. Ricky had an eventful weekend of making his blind for the bush for the upcoming hunting season - opens this saturday...and he did an oil change in the truck...i cleaned up the house, we set the baby's crib up and attempted to bring it upstairs, cuz Ricky was smart and set it up in the living room - well needless to say, it didn't fit up the stairs so they had to take it apart and put it back together upstairs. Saturday night, Dad, Uncle Ray, Adam and Ricky played poker at our place, and I was out cold by 9 after cleaning out the closets etc. I wanted to do something crafy for the baby - lol - i have this idea of getting the wood letters M-A-D-Y-S-O-N and painting them myself and hanging them above the crib but after searching all of Shawville, couldnt find any. So i'll have to check somewhere else. I did however, frame some ultrasound pictures to hang.
Anyways better get back to work

Sharon said...

They have wooden letters at Michaels Galore!

Jill said...

Yeah, I remember seeing lots of wooden letters the last time I was at Michaels - but I never checked to see how much they were. I do think that's a really cute idea, though! You should look into it, Stace!

Sharon: Sorry to hear your shopping trip to Food Basics was disappointing. You guys are starting to make me nervous with all this talk about Christmas shopping - I haven't even really thought about it yet. I guess once Halloween is over, I won't have an excuse anymore!

Pretty quiet on the Blog front today, isn't it? Well, I was happy to hear how your weekends went! Aside from In Safe Hands, mine was kinda blah - Saturday I scrapbooked, then mom & I went to Aylmer BBQ for chinese food Saturday night, watched the hockey game while babysitting Caden, I fell asleep watching The Break-Up, Sunday went to Liam's christening & then played with Caden, watched Frailty, and that's about it! But the last time I had a quiet weekend, I got depressed, and this weekend I didn't, so that was good! LOL

Stacy said...

Well thats good that you didnt have a depressed weekend - where were you all day yesterday - has the cold weather forced Lady Linda into the garage?

Jill said...

LOL - yep, this was Lady Linda's first weekend in the garage. But I'm still getting used to it apparently, because this morning I went to leave and I looked out into the garage and my heart almost stopped because the Rav wasn't there. So, with my imagination already running wild thinking someone had stolen it, I said to dad, "Where the hell is my car?" and he said, "You must have forgotten to put it in last night." I was POSITIVE I had put it in, but apparently not, 'cause there she was, waiting outside in the cold for me! It takes some getting used to...

Priscilla said...

I noticed too that it is quiet on the blog today. I talked to Chad about the murder mystery. He now says he wants to know if Graham is going then he will decide if he wants to go. Friday night we went to Rideau Carleton Raceway for an office function. The boss paid for all of us, he got a special package deal, all you can eat buffet, a free $2 bet for each person and the first drink was free too I think. We got race #12 named after us, it was called the FH Rowat Insurance Agency Trot, we got our picture taken with the winning horse, and a ride in the pace car. That was the highlight of my night, the car could only fit 4 people and I wanted to go really bad. But to my surprise, nobody else was excited to go. So I went with my boss and Anna and one of the girls' husband. It was pretty neat, we were so close to the horses, there was these arms that swung out from the roof of the car that the horses had to line up at, then we drove around the track beside the horses as they were racing. We almost took out the camera man, the driver was watching the race and he wasn't paying attention to in front of him, the camera man steps onto the track to take a picture, then the other guy in the car with us (the guy operating the arms)started shouting at the driver and we just missed him. Anyways, it was kind of a once in a lifetime chance I thought, and I was glad I got to go. When we came back to pick up my car we drove through Quyon, just to see what was 'happening' in the town, and your Rav was parked in front of Gavan's Jill, did you stop in at the Halloween party? Oh yeah, for you snow lovers, you should move up north to Otter Lake, we got some more snow yesterday, but not enough to get the Ski-Doo out this time. I hardly made it home Sunday morning, I couldn't go faster than 20 from Ladysmith on. So my dad and Chad put on my snow tires last night. It feels too early, but I don't want to take another chance like I did on Sunday morning. It was pretty scary.

Jill said...

Hi PK -
I'll have to let you know when I hear from Sara if Graham is coming, but I'm assuming he will come if Sara does (and Ricky is, too).
Friday night after In Safe Hands were done, Luke & I and Patate & Kelsey went to Gavan's just to get food. I didn't go in Saturday night at all, but I was just talking to Travis and he said it was packed. Mostly people from across the river, though. I wonder if Nick went ahead with the costume contest. A few years ago when it was packed like that, he cancelled it because it was too wild. Last year it wasn't bad, a good crowd but not crazy. Travis said this year was crazy; about an hour's wait in the line for the bar (and the wouldn't let them do it the sneaky way of going in behind the bar like he usually does - they blocked that part off).
Anyways, glad to hear you had a good time Friday night - sounds like the ride in the pace car was fun!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jill the opening paragraph is really good, the way you describe your hometown. Makes me think you should write stories too. I think Billy Loveseat said that as well.
I'm trying to picture you at a punk show and just can't. Maybe if it was a pop punk show like Green Day or something. I saw Rancid two months ago and it sucked, I hate moshing. I went to see the Hold Steady in Toronto and then Ottawa this weekend. Awesome, better than Springsteen.

Jill said...

Don't know if you'll come back this far to read this, but yeah, as I said, I stick out like a sore thumb at a punk concert. Definitely not my scene. But I do like In Safe Hands, love their songs, and enjoy being there to hear them live. That's why I used to sit in on practices, so that I could still hear them "live" without having to embarrass myself by going to their shows where actual "punks" are hanging out. But they were all very nice on Friday night, nobody made me feel out of place, I didn't get many strange looks - of course, they might have thought I was dressed up like a soccer mom, as it was a Halloween thing.
Billy Loveseat never liked my poetry, that's why he encouraged me to write stories. And I'd love to write stories, but I get frustrated and junk them very quickly. That's why I like the Blog. I can write about whatever I want, so I'm keeping up my "skills", so that someday if I do decide to actually write something, I'll be ready to do it.