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This is a Standoff brings melodic approach to the table during an evening of performances by four punk bands



Who: This is a Standoff

When: Friday, June 19, 9:30 p.m.

Where: Garfinkel's

Cost: $10

This is a Standoff was actually assembled from the ashes of other Canadian bands, like Belvedere, Forty Cent Fix and One Shot Left. After the end of Belvedere, songwriter and guitarist Steve Rawles teamed up with drummer Graham Churchill for a new project. They ended up recruiting Forty Cent Fix's John Meloche and Corey Tapp, bassist of One Shot Left and the end result was a melodic hardcore punk band - This is a Standoff.

"We said, right off the bat, that if we were going to do this, we were going to do a little more crazier tours than just playing locally, because John was in Ottawa, Graham's in Edmonton," Rawles trailed off.

They meant business. Following the release of their first two demo songs on MySpace, the band hit the road for a month-long tour in Europe, sharing the stage with Mad Caddies, Action Men, Big D and the Kids Table, and Boysetsfire.

"I have some really good contacts from when Belvedere toured over there quite often, and they heard some songs on MySpace, and that was enough to get at least 100 kids out every night."

Since then, the group has done two additional tours of Europe and performed with groups like Strike Anywhere, The Flatliners, and Carpenter, plus a handful of gigs with Bad Religion and Lagwagon.

"We didn't want to just go a play Saskatchewan, that's not why we started this band. I've done that 18 times, and there's nothing wrong with playing Saskatchewan but that's not why we did this."

While each comes from different musical backgrounds, growing up with influences from classic rock, punk, metal, hardcore and more, they simply all share a common love of punk rock.

"I generally just like really fast, upbeat music and that's what I like playing," Rawles said, "I find that just playing a rock song is freaking boring and I wouldn't know what to do onstage if I was playing one."

Despite the distance between the band members, Rawles said it's been pretty easy to work as a group.

"When you decide that's the people you want to play in a band with, you just kind of make it work."

Creatively, they work well as a team, with Rawles writing lyrics, Meloche coming up with the music, and the entire group fine-tuning the final product.

In October 2007, they released their first album, "Be Excited."

"It was more about our excitement than (the fans)," Rawles explained, "We're pretty selfish - we do things a lot for us and we're very surprised that anyone else likes it!"

Then, just this past March, they released a follow-up, ironically titled - you guessed it - "Be Disappointed."

"Lyrically, for me, its probably a lot more personal than the first album and probably a little more political," he said, "Music-wise, it's definitely a step above what the album was."

This album was actually inspired by Rawles' experience rebuilding houses in New Orleans.

"Once you kind of opened that, the floodgates started flowing," he added.

On Tuesday morning, the group was traveling to their next gigs in Portland and Seattle, sandwiched between Roseburg and Grant's Pass, Oregon. They're on their Canadian tour, and will be making their way to Whistler for the first time this week to do a show with Slush, Madcowboys and Party at the Moontower.

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