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Black Maria takes aggressive stance

"Can go from a fast, up-beat, driving, crushing rock song and change gears into a melodic piano..."

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Who: The Black Maria

Where: Garfinkel’s

When: Wednesday, Feb. 15

Canadian tours are always the hardest, with 12-hour drives between gigs.

All of The Black Maria crew is tired, sick with the flu and still ready to pound out an aggressive punk rock show for their Alberta fans in a few hours – the glamour of it all.

"It’s cold," said Chris Gray from the touring van driving through Saskatchewan. "We are all sick."

For four years, the Toronto-based band has battled on the road circuit, with their big break finally landing in June 2004. The group signed with U.S. label giants Victory Records.

It’s been a full-time touring schedule ever since, along with the release of their label debut album, Lead Us to Reason , which includes the heavily rotated MuchMusic hit single Betrayal.

"Our music has a hard rock feel with a lot of energy and an intense vibe," Gray said.

With influences ranging from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Rage Against the Machine and The Hours, the band runs the gamut of delicate piano with harmonized vocals to aggressive guitars and bitter lyrics.

"We can go from a fast, up-beat, driving, crushing rock song and change gears into a melodic piano with me singing falsetto…. We get so many different tours because they can’t pin us down to one category. Hard rock, pop, punk: we have a chance to play on so many different levels."

The Black Maria, named after the notorious police vans of the early 20 th century, has shared stages with Queens of the Stone Age, MXPX, The Distillers, and Ted Leo and The Pharmacists.

Redfish will soon be added to the list with a double bill show Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Garfinkel’s.

Red Fish has shared stages with music notables as well, including Evanescence, Finger Eleven, Seether, The Trews, Sloan and 54-40.

The band’s high-powered rock, falling somewhere between U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Matthew Good, will warm crowds up for an unforgettable two-band show.

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