One Bad Son ‘loves it all’


On March 14, Saskatchewan-based rock band One Bad Son took the stage at Maxwell’s Concerts and Events on University Avenue and delivered what can only be described as an explosive performance.

In an intimate setting of approximately 100 people, One Bad Son, lead by vocalist Shane Volk, brought every person to their feet with their distinct stage presence, undeniable chemistry and unforgettable energy. Seeing them live, in such an intimate setting, was surely a treat.

“We’ve been together since late 2004,” Volk said before taking the stage. “The way we formed was pretty random. Kurt and I met through different bands and then found Hicks and Granny through some numbers at a Long and McQuade … We just met through music.”

Volk found it difficult to describe. He said the best way to describe any band’s sound is solely based on understanding the subjectivity of music.

“People always ask us, ‘What do you sound like?’” he said. “It’s really always up to you, though. If you think we sound like your favourite [‘80s band] then I guess that’s your reflection of rock and roll. It’s always up to the listener.”

Volk explained although they find themselves somewhere in-between old and new rock, they want to create a distinct sound that doesn’t slot the band into one category.

One Bad Son’s current tour is to promote their newest album Black Buffalo, which was released in September 2014.

“[The new album] is as close to our live sound as we’ve been able to capture on record,” Volk said. “It’s really stripped down … really, it’s just us. There’s not much just guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Going forward, we’re going to experiment with different stuff, but what was important on this record was to hammer it out the way we do live shows.”

After the March 14 show, this statement proved to be true. It’s very rare a band can perform live to the same quality heard on their album, but One Bad Son completed the task.

Volk’s vocals — comparable to Chris Cornell of Soundgarden — were strong and never wavered. He utilized the space of the stage and was engaged with the audience.

Dahl’s performance on drums was also worthy of applause and he undeniably had the most fun on stage. Watching Dahl’s energy and ecstatic facial expressions during the show really displayed what being in a band should be all about — the joy and love of the music.

When discussing the experience of playing live shows, Volk emphasized it really is all about the music.

“We love it all. As long as you have a room full of people, I don’t care if it’s capacity or 5,000 … they’re going to get a One Bad Son show. We don’t let up,” he said.

All Volk wants in a show is for that energy to be reciprocated.

“All we ever ask of the crowd is that they give back as much energy as we’re giving them,” he said. “And to be honest, it happens pretty much every night.”

The interaction between the band and the audience was nothing but high energy on Saturday’s show. There were several people moshing and getting as close to the front as they possibly could.

In the past few years Canadian rock has been experiencing a revival with bands such as Monster Truck, The Sheepdogs and now One Bad Son.

As much as these bands are becoming household names in Canada, it is sometimes difficult for such bands to break out of Canadian borders.

“It’s a gigantic country with not many people in it,” Volk said. “A band in America can tour Texas for most of its career and make way more money and have way more fans than a Canadian band who’s known nation-wide. That is the struggle.”

“We’re one of the top bands in Canada right now in terms of radio numbers … but to the Americans, it’s a small market,” he continued. “There’s a certain toughness that touring Canadian rock bands have because they’re driving [long distances] between shows and because there’s not many people, the markets are harder to break.”

When asked if One Bad Son would ever move things to the United States, Volk answered without hesitation.

“No, because we’re Canadian guys, we love this country and there’s amazing fans up here. We’ve done really well up here.”

As far as the future of One Bad Son goes, Volk remarked the band’s philosophy is to always stay on tour.

“The next record is probably about a year away, so Black Buffalo still has a lot of legs.”

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