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ERA 9 in Kelowna

Montreal rock band, ERA 9, have a growing reputation in Canada’s music scene. From interviews with the CBC to an appearance on MuchMusic, the band is developing a growing following. The band made a recent stop in Kelowna, where they performed at the Mary Irwin Theatre at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on Tuesday, May 29th as part of the HMP Music Showcase tour that they were headlining. I was fortunate enough to be invited along and I had the pleasure of meeting some of the band members too. They were polite, courteous and funny. For instance, when I told them I had heard much good things about their live performances, I’d heard words such as charismatic bandied about, lead singer, Philip Paolino, stoically informed me that I was “about to be disappointed.” Luckily, I sensed he was joking, and I decided to stick around.

ERA 9 consists of Eric Maddalena (bass), Jona Dhepaganon (lead guitar), Joe D'adamo (rhythm guitar), Marco Leclerc (drums) and the aforementioned, Philip Paolino (vocals.) They have a classic rock sound with an accessible modern twist. Their sound has been described as “genre-bending” in some quarters and it’s clear to see (or hear, at least) that ERA 9 have influences from funk to heavy metal. Their self-titled debut album was released in May 2011. Here’s the official music video for the single, Goodnight, that’s of the album.

Due to the nature of the HMP showcase, I had to wait a while before I could see the band perform, but that only served to build my anticipation. Prior to seeing the band live, I had listened to them online; so I was really interested in seeing their stage presence, live performance and overall interaction with the crowd. That had to wait, however, as a variety of acts performed an array of songs from an eclectic mix of genres first. That’s because the HMP Music Showcase, put on by Vancouver based, HMP Recording and Development, is designed to allow artists attached to the label an opportunity to perform and experience a tour environment.

When ERA 9 eventually took the stage, they brought an energy and solid stage presence. Phil encouraged people to come down to the stage and dance. For me, it’s always a disheartening experience when a band fails to fill a stage. In other words, they fail to move around it, monopolize it, or treat it as though it is a theatrical stage; a platform, pardon the pun, that can be used to enhance a performance. That is not a criticism that can be leveled at ERA 9 as Phil moved about the stage with a passionate verve that felt contagious at times. He used the stage in a way that seemed to bring the sound closer to the audience thus creating a deeper connection. A connection a couple of young women a few rows behind me were only to eager to pursue with Phil, it seems. Ultimately, the band put on a live performance that lived up to their ‘charismatic’ reputation. Keep an eye on this band as you may be hearing more from them in the future.

ERA 9 – Live in Kelowna (May 29th 2012.) Photo courtesy of Valaura Vedan

You can visit ERA 9’s official website here:

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