Reviews

Feral Harmonic

Author: Alison Smyth
10/21/2009 | Pitt News | www.pittnews.com | Live Show Preview
Old Canes (with Signal to the Ocean Estate and Run Forever)
Oct. 23, 8 p.m.
Brillobox
412-621-4900
General Admission $7

Chris Crisci is the musical equivalent of Superman.

He spent his youth in Kansas, playing the trumpet and trombone in music programs. When a punk rock band played at his school during lunch period, however, Crisci's life forever changed.

He bought a guitar, he played in bands, and a new rock musician was born.

He now plays for The Appleseed Cast, and in a time of music peril, he united the elite of the Kansas music scene into one musical super group.

Collaboration worked for The Justice League, and it works for Old Canes. Old Canes became The Appleseed Cast's folk-rock alter-ego after a show on its European tour.

"We were booked kind of against our will to perform an acoustic show," Crisci said. "We told the booking agent that we don't do that, but he booked it anyway."

Instead of moving in a new direction with the band, stylistically, Crisci chose to do something different.

"I like Appleseed," he said. "I liked what we were doing. I didn't want to stop doing that."

The Appleseed Cast, Crisci's primary band, tends to lean toward the plugged-in side of rock.

"We can't really perform Appleseed Cast songs acoustic," he said. "It just doesn't translate well. So, I just decided to play some folk songs."

That show was the beginning of something important for Crisci.

"Appleseed has always been a band where we like to have a lot of contributors," he said. "Doing this kind of folk was really just something I was doing on my own. I just played these songs for myself or for friends once in a while, just for fun, really just playing around with them. It wouldn't have been something I would have thought of performing."

After playing the songs solo, Crisci decided to develop the new sound.

"That was the first time I had played these songs for anybody," he said. "The response was really good and a couple of the guys encouraged me to record it."

Eight members from other local bands came together to form Old Canes.

Old Canes recently released its second album, Feral Harmonic, and will perform in Pittsburgh as a five-piece.

"Especially at the beginning both records I've had seven or eight different people playing on it," he said. "When we played as a three-piece, two of those could have been any of the eight people."

Other members have their own bands, including The Minus Story and Crisci's own, The Appleseed Cast. He describes Old Canes as more of a "musical collective."

"It wasn't really a band," he said. "In fact, still, the people we have are only semi-committed to the band."

Although the collective formed a few years ago, it has yet to reach the same level of recognition as some of their other bands.

"We haven't really been out there a whole lot," Crisci said. "We released Early Morning Hymns five years ago but really didn't do anything on it. So, we have yet to go out and really kind of garner any kind of a fan base at all."

The fans of Old Canes aren't just old fans of the well-known bands.

"I think that we have some fans from Appleseed Cast," he said, "And we definitely have some people that come to shows. They don't even like Appleseed Cast, but they love Old Canes."

At live shows, the folk fans still like to move as much as the rock fans do.

"I love the energy," Crisci said. "I love that when we play, the people that come out to the shows are willing to dance, they're willing to really show that they're into it."

Crisci and Old Canes try to present a sound as complete as possible, even when touring without all the band members.

"When we went out as the three-piece before, we took the most essential part and we played it," he said. "But this time, we're trying to capture everything, down to the shaker. [Concert-goers] will see a good representation of what we recorded."

Superman always found a few friends at The Daily Planet, and Lawrence's music scene fosters the same sense of belonging something that led to Crisci meeting some very super friends.

"Specifically Lawrence, Kansas Kansas as a whole, I wouldn't say is very artistic but Lawrence is a college town, there's tons of great bands," Crisci said. "It's a really good community."

If there's one thing the head of the Justice League needs, it's a little help from his friends.

--

slight correction

Crisci grew up in San Diego playing the horns at school...Moved to L.A.and started Appleseed Cast...the band then moved to Kansas in the mid 90's....for whatever its worth.
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