Empire Alley
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Empire Alley

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Alternative Rock

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"Empire Alley Steamrolled Malone's on Pender Saturday Night"

Did I dance my butt off? I say absolutely... so what if I was the only one. Okay, so not the only one, there were a few other stragglers but not what I expected for my first weekend adventure into Vancouver city nightlife. Not a trace of disappointment on my face, though, just a wide beaming grin.

Vigorously entertaining despite the lethargy of the crowd, Empire Alley gave away t-shirts, invited fans on stage and ventured out into the sparse group of dancers. The Band; Sonny-lead guitar and vocals, Brad-bass, Sean-keyboard and backing vocals, and Clates on the drums, played an intense mix of covers and originals.

The whipped out old standbys; Santeria, a faster, smoother interpretation, and Wonderwall which began as an acoustic song until the strap snapped, after playing only a few notes of the intro stealing suspense from eager fans. Without missing a beat, Sonny grabbed for his Godin electric and coaxed the crowd into singing along.

Their trademark cover, a rocked up version of the Britney Spears' bubblegum ditty "Hit Me Baby One More Time", awakened everyone's inner rock star and we were all singing along. Dare I say the very campy adaptation, somehow morphed into cool.

Empire Alley's experience, musical skill and skillful songcrafting is refreshing and fuses many layers of rock, classical and funk for a solid foundation of joyfully aggressive songs as well as many melodic rock ballads with clever rhythms and intriguing, intricate arrangements. Has anybody seen Empire Alley perform live? - BeyondRobson.com


"Napolean Said It Best"

"In the eyes of empire, men are not men but instruments."
~ Napoleon Bonaparte

On the night of December 18th, I was finally able to get through to Clayton Flagg, the drummer for local indie rock band, Empire Alley, to see if I could review and photograph them for a show that they were playing at The Railway Club downtown. Having known Clayton from before through several illicit channels from my film school years, he was perfectly fine with it provided I didn't make them look bad. Frankly, after seeing them perform, that'd be hard to do. And I'm usually pretty vocal about who I dislike.

Openly admitting that I had never been too much of a fan of what they had up on their MySpace, I never quite expected to see so much raw energy from a local indie pop rock band that also sounded so polished and tight. Sounding like a mashup of Maximo Park and a lo-fi version of Montreal rockers Mobile, Empire Alley began with a solid four song set, ending with their arguably most well-known song "Orange Revolution" (in which lead singer, Sonny Manhas, sang through a megaphone to heighten the thematic urgency of the chorus). Next thing I knew, they had somehow managed to drag half the club onstage to sing Christmas songs and at one point, Clayton even emerged from behind the drum kit and began to softly croon "Blue Christmas" into the mic while the rest of the band made their rounds, passing out eggnog. Then, with keyboardist Sean Bayntun launching into an uptempo version of The Carol of the Bells, the rest of the band eased back into their rock groove with the highly-energetic "Hey Now". It didn't take long for about thirty dedicated fans to crowd the front of the stage -- which doesn't sound like much, but the setup of the place is more like a restaurant than an actual club -- and by the finisher, "So Swell", Sonny had brought two girls out of the crowd to play tambourine and maracas with the rest of the band. Say what you will about the music, but the band knows how to work a crowd.

The band sounds much better live than what you'd expect from their recordings. The night that I saw them, I was amazed at how crisp and clear they were, and that was made even all the more amazing by the fact that I'd only heard muddy streaming audio tracks from them before. I hear from Sonny that the band has just finished recording their first album and it's ready to be mixed and mastered in January. It'll be interesting hearing how that turns out. - ThatRockBlog


Discography

2008 National Release

1) Orange Revolution
2) So Swell
3) Salem
4) Crossing the Line
5) Hey Now
6) Trenched

Photos

Bio

Uncontained and unabashed, Empire Alley breaks away from the current tidal wave of dreary, indistinguishable indie-rock bands. It isn’t Empire Alley’s current radio play or recent spotlight in music columns across Canada that makes them the band to watch. It’s the blow-your-mind-high-energy live shows that have rock fans pining for Empire Alley.

Echoing the sounds of Bloc Party, Spoon, and Arctic Monkeys, Empire Alley's brand of indie-rock invokes images of dancing, sweating fans singing along with the band. No wonder, because the band's latest release is made up of six gems that are sure to leave your head bobbing and feet moving.

Having been friends for over 20 years the members of Empire Alley share more than just the bonds of musical brotherhood. Since officially forming the band in 2006 Empire Alley has placed first in the Absolut Vodka/Factory Studios Battle of bands, sold out shows across Western Canada, and made the TOP 12 out of thousands of bands in 99.3 The Fox's Seeds Competition.

Having already sold out venues across the West Coast music scene Empire Alley, four childhood friends who have known each for over 20 years, will be touring Nationally in 2008-2009.

Bookings & Management:
Niels Manning
Laboratory Promotions
604.616.6691
empirealley@hotmail.com

Publicist:
Lee Allen
Laboratory Promotions
604.616.2813
empirealley@hotmail.com

"Checked out their myspace page and fell in love with the song Orange Revolution, and I think that you’ll like it too."
~ Lana - Indie DJ on 99.3 THE FOX

"Orange Revolution is set to take over the airwaves."
~ The Link