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the Barnhart Blog 2 - The Most Serene Republic and Dinosaur Bones at The Merchant Ale House.

Joel Barnhart
November 30, 2010

I live above the Merchant Ale House, a popular bar and microbrewery in the heart of down town St. Catharines. The Merch is a popular venue, and bands play shows there once or twice a week. Having lived here for just over a year, the live music resonating through my floor boards every weekend has largely lost it's novelty. That's not to say I dislike it, I decided to live above a bar for a reason, but usually, I'm content to just drown out the sound with music of my own or movies or whatever. Every once in a while, though, they'll have artists booked that piques my interest, and I'll go down to listen.

Last night was one of those nights.

In a show hosted by CFBU 103.7 FM, Brock U's radio station, I was introduced to two bands, Dinosaur Bones and The Most Serene Republic.

Dinosaur Bones, from Toronto, opened, and were the band that got me downstairs in the first place. The Merch was absolutely packed, with the audience just feet away from the band members, and the energy in the room could almost be felt out in the street. They had a sound reminiscent of Fugazi, The Pixies and Interpol, but still different some how. It's like, if a Fugazi song married an Interpol song - just follow me with this - and had a baby together, and they raised that baby with the help of A Pixies song (who's a live-in nanny, I guess?), and then the baby song started a band that payed loving tribute to the music of it's parents, but infused it with the ideas and attitude of a new generation. New, but with subtle traces of it's influences.

The Most Serene Republic, hailing from Milton, Ontario, played next. I enjoyed them a great deal as well, with a sound that was a bit like The Strokes with the haunting atmosphere of post rock. Their performance was energetic and you could feel the pulse moving through the crowd, like wind through a grassy field.
One thing I'd like to make specific mention of: as a percussionist myself I was impressed with the band's drummer, Adam Balsam, whose intricate fills and hi-hat work accentuated the music beautifully. Tragically, it seems a lot of drummers are delegated the status of a glorified metronome, so I always enjoy it when the rhythm section is as important to the music as the guitar and vocals, instead of just keeping time.

I ended up purchasing EP's from both bands, the Birthright EP from Dinosaur Bones and Fantasick Impossibliss from The Most Serene Republic, both of which I've been enjoying immensely. Dinosaur Bones is dropping a full album at the beginning of the new year, which I'll certainly be looking out for. You can check out both bands at and, respectively.

Joel Barnhart