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"ADA - Another way to sound"

February 22, 2008

As we mourn the recent loss of local landmarks on Queen Street West, scorched by a suspicious fire, it perhaps offers us fresh perspective on appreciating those great historical buildings in our city that still stand, including our very venerable rock clubs.

Toronto's legendary El Mocambo has, over its long and storied existence, been a favourite of the world famous Rolling Stones and countless other noted musical acts for good reason. The environs within are truthful to what is most appealing in any good bands' sound.

An outfit like Toronto's own ADA is no exception in that regard and they fully appreciated and deserved the distinct honour they had of playing there on February 22nd, 2008.

I had not yet heard this band and was thus amongst a very select few of the packed audience in attendance that night. My initial thoughts during their performance went beyond recognition that I was hearing something a bit different. What I heard evoked Portishead and Broken Social Scene, acts which unpretentious and loose ADA singer Jen Mahon likes but does not necessarily list amongst her own personal influences.

Ethereal looking Mahon is adept at using her vocals as an instrument. What is distinctive about it are her slick transitions in style reflecting the various tempo changes over the course of ADA's sets characteristic to their particular sound.

Guitarist Pouya Birgani writes all of the band's material but seems more than happy to yield centre stage to his vivacious and exotic frontwoman. The persistent percussion drive provided by drummer Mike Petroianu and a mysterious gentleman known only as "Wolfman" on bass punctuate the rhythm behind Mahon.

The combo plays well together and does not upstage each other striking a more balanced approach than other groups generally do.

"We're a band that's been through a lot together, and through that we've learned to just relax and feed off each other and our crowd.
Maybe that's the main appeal to our shows - we dedicate ourselves so much to our music, but still try not to take our performances too seriously," said Mahon matter-of-factly.

The way they perform is laid-back but hardly casual and certainly not easy listening. They have reached a comfort level with their own repertoire and what they can do using the language of music. While it's definitely alternative but it can't really be classified as punk or avant garde though some might pin them down as such.

ADA's independently produced CD, which is set for release in spring 2008, is the first accurately recorded interpretation of how this band sounds at their best in live performance. It appears to actually have been composed on instruments rather than simply programmed in studio and that means it sounds natural, which is the way music should. It does break some new ground both for the band and alternative music in general.

With acts of the calibre of ADA, Basia Lyjak, Billy & the Lost Boys, and Frankie Whyte & the Dead Idols amongst those gracing its stage over the past six months, it would appear that the El Mocambo is enjoying a remarkable resurgence. It's great to see the Elmo continue to attract such top flight, cutting edge bands and enthusiastic crowds after so long on the scene.
- Jason Daniel Baker

"Canadian Music Week 2008: ADA"

The Ampersand wanted to introduce readers to the artists playing this year's Canadian Music Week. Unfortunately, it's not easy to find time to interview 300-plus bands. So, we sent out a short questionnaire to everyone so they can speak for themselves.

Here's ADA.

What was the first album you ever bought and do you still listen to it?

JEN: RHCP - Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik (on casette) at Amoeba records on a trip to California. MIKE: Europe's single "The Final Countdown" is now the ADA anthem.
POUYA: Is from the desert so The Orginal Camel Riders Mixed Tape, but has recently progressed to Metallica. WOLFMAN: Hair Metal - He lives and breathes by it.

What is your best/worst/wackiest story from your time on tour?

We had a festival gig in Janetville last summer, where we all had to camp overnight with the festival-goers. There was one ukrainian guy there with all this army gear on, who was doing target practice with his bow and arrow for the whole night. Eventually he got so mashed that he came by the campfire and started telling stories about how he had left home because he had killed a man with his bare hands and the Ukrainian police were still looking for him. He kept slurring 'I'm only telling you this because I know you' to about 8 of us sitting around the fire. Needless to say we didn't sleep much that night...

Do you get more groupies than Nickelback? Why or why not?

We have unlimited groupies, thanks to our drummer's face.

Who are your musical influences?

The Mars Volta, System of a Down, Coheed & Cambria, The Tango.

CMW will be successful if we....

...get a lifetime ban from Clinton's...again.

• ADA play Clinton's on March 7 at 11 p.m.

- National Post


Off the floor v.1 (March 2006)
Off the floor v.2 (December 2006)
Off the floor v.3 (April 2007)



ADA is a Toronto rock act that lives to perform. Musically influenced by bands like At the Drive In and Coheed & Cambria, their music plays on the extremes of multiple sounds. With over 150,000 online plays and a spot at number one on GarageBand's rock charts for over 3 weeks, ADA's has independently promoted their live-off-the-floor demo while playing local gigs, campus festivals and touring south eastern Ontario. The band continues to play shows in the Toronto area, with some of their most frequently venues being Toronto’s El Mocambo, Horseshoe Tavern and Lee's Palace. A followup, self-funded tour throughout northern Ontario and Quebec is planned to support their full length album to be released at the end of 2008.

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