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The Spill Canvas in New York City

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, May 4, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Last week, I saw The Spill Canvas play in New York. This is a band whose albums Sunsets and Car Crashes and No Really, I’m Fine had a profound impact on shaping my musical tastes during my youth. This show got me thinking a lot about the infrastructure of band reunions, and how the typical life cycle of bands seems completely foreign to me in this era of music consumption. The show itself was astounding, and I’ll talk about it more later, but it definitely made me ponder a variety of questions about the life-cycle of a band in the hours and days after the show.

    For years, it seemed the inevitable cycle of a beloved band would go as follows: unknown band works tirelessly for years on a debut full-length, finally releasing it to critical acclaim and slowly swelling fan support. Then, they would be rushed back into the studio to record a second full-length album by the indie record label that scooped them up after their debut. At which point they’d be grabbed by an even bigger label for album three and, if they’re lucky, four, before the critical backlash raises to the point where the band becomes unsustainable and they break up.

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    This archetype worked in a pre-internet era, where people relied on writers, not dissimilar from me, to tell them where they should and shouldn’t give their financial support. And, surely, these critics aren’t perfect. We often err towards recency bias when it comes to critique. What’s new is in many minds better. Even if older artists continue to reinvent and develop their craft in new and unique ways, we have a tendency to gloss over that in favor of what looks best on our end-of—year lists.

    But why can’t bands continue to outlive their supposed sell-by date in this new era of media? In an era where people can instantly turn on Apple Music or Spotify and form an opinion on a new piece of music immediately, without having to consult a critic to do so — why can’t an artist continue to live on in the hearts and minds, and most importantly the record players and earbuds, of those who grew up listening to their music and those that are discovering it as new for the very first time?

    I want to live in a world where the music that you grew up with doesn’t just have to be in the past tense. I don’t want to live in a world with backhanded compliments like Taylor Swift’s to Jimmy Eat World in the recent Apple Music ad exist (“I used to listen to this song in middle school!”). Instead, I want to live in a world where people are unashamed to grow and change with an artist, and where artists are no longer afraid that any development or shift in sound in their music will signal the departure of their “core fanbase.”

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    So all this to say, I had a fantastic time at The Spill Canvas’ “Request Tour.” I was invited to their VIP acoustic set earlier in the day, in which a visibly sick Nick Thomas fought his way through two of the band’s best songs in their discography, “Parallels and Money” and “Dutch Courage,” before taking on a mammoth 20 song setlist in the band’s main show later in the night.

    I watched as they breathed new life into old staples, such as playing an evocative full-band rendition of “The Tide.” Songs I hadn’t heard in five years came back to me in an instant, transporting me to the place I heard them for the first time. I stood at the side of the stage for the show, trying and failing to keep from feeling claustrophobic in the crowd, but from that vantage point I had a good view of the one thing in particular I most took away from the show: In the front row there were a dozen people, all passionately engrossed in the songs, singing along, their eyes closed, their heads raised skyward. That, I realized, was the immediacy I had been seeking in the music from my past. I wanted to live in the present with these songs, allowing them to grow and develop new meanings within me, and I want the artists that created them to live on, long after some critics say they should be no longer.

    I spoke with a few members of The Spill Canvas throughout the night, but one interaction struck me. I shook Nick Thomas’s hand after the VIP Acoustic set was over, and he said to me, “After all this time, we’re still doing it.” And, you know what, it’s a damn good thing they are.

  2. jjnunn118

    Signal Vs. Noise Prestigious

    Band means so much to me! After I turned 16 my parent's made me wait another year to drive out of town, which meant missing a whole bunch of cool shows! The Spill Canvas played in Portland the night before my 17th birthday so I convinced my parent's to let me go up and they agreed. First concert I ever drove to, first concert I ever took a girl to, just an all around special night (plus weirdly enough New Politics opened the tour like 3 years before they got linked up with Fall Out Boy).

    Seeing them tomorrow for the first time in 6 years and I couldn't be more excited!
  3. chcougar1


    Man. Would have loved to see a 20 song set from these guys. The first time I saw them they were the headliners and they played 6 songs lol I saw them numerous times after that and they were amazing each time.
  4. lauren14


    Really great article. It's still crazy to me how much consumerism has really infiltrated every aspect of music. And kudos becaus the swift Apple commercial drives me nuts.