With Low Flying Planes and Swear by the Moon
The Artery (9535 Jasper Avenue)
Thursday, August 18 at 8 p.m.
$8 at yeglive.ca and theartery.ca
The occasional hint of gypsy folk woven into the sound of Maria in the Shower is anything but spurious. The travelling troubadours spend countless hours on the road hitting everything from jazz festivals to house parties. Tracking down the nomadic band members for an interview is a difficult task. When the group is finally reached, they're unsurprisingly on the move, en route to Medicine Hat after making a pit stop at an accordion store. As lead vocalist Martin Reisle speaks, his voice carries over the hum of the highway in the background.
"So far [the tour has been] good. We haven't torn each others' limbs off or anything," he says, the other band members laughing in the background. "We're actually getting along pretty well, I'd say. We have been on the road for over two months now — I reckon that's an accomplishment. […] We're all in a van with all of our gear, so there are only four seats available. The rest is taken up by stand-up basses, accordions, guitars, and camping gear for some festivals."
The miles logged on the highways of Western Canada, combined with their temporary tour-van home, make the band's gypsy image all the more appropriate. But even with their devotion to life on the road, the members of the cabaret caravan have their limits. While the Vancouver band is a regular presence back home on the west coast, they have yet to bring their live show to the eastern side of Canada.
"We refuse to go past Winnipeg until someone flies us out," Reisle says boldly. "Not so much for [fear of] dropped bookings as the drive from Winnipeg to Toronto — it's almost as great of a distance as driving from B.C. to Winnipeg, only there's very little in between there. […] There are lots of people playing there, but it's not so much that they're great places as they're the only places to play. It oversaturates those places a bit — it's a big gap to cross. That's still half of Canada that we have to get
While they're daunted by the idea of taking their show beyond the familiar territory of the prairies, that doesn't mean Maria in the Shower are afraid of playing unconventional settings. The last time they made a stop in Alberta was for a show at North Country Fair, a notoriously damp and muddy weekend of music.
"North Country Fair is really a magical place and experience," Reisle continues. "I think it was fun to engage with that sort of energy which dictates a different type of show than you would get at a bar that we have no relationship to."
With a live presence that brings high energy performance art out of a veritable musical melting pot, chances are good that Maria in the Shower's gypsy sounds have just as much room to move as the travelling band itself.
"We just play music that is fun and we love to play," Reisle concludes. "If that takes a turn towards gypsy jazz, bluegrass, reggae, or whatever — that's cool, and we try to do those things as much justice as our own experience allows. […] There's maybe an art of selling your genre or making up your own genre.
"You just have to say something that grabs people's imaginations."