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"A Collective Cure-all (Jazz-funk fusion band provides elixir for musical ills)"

The Montreal music scene is exploding, and newcomers Panacea seem to be tailor-made for it. The four-man Montreal band has only been gigging since August, but their performances are utterly intoxicating.

"We started as an experiment," said Ben Dodds, the band's drummer. "It was weird at first, but we connected and let the band flow; we let the music do talking."

Panacea is a result of a chance encounter, as Ben and his twin brother Josh put some posters up around McGill and Concordia that were answered by trombonist Eli Chalmer and keyboardist Greg Burton.

"Panacea is not funk or classical music: it's improvisational," said Chalmer, the band's de facto frontman. "It doesn't fall into a category. It's not jazz or anything like that."

"After eight bars of their first song, I was like, 'You guys are staying here forever,'" said Ronee Nurse, owner of the Crescent Street Pub. Panacea picked up a regular gig at his bar after opening for another band.

The band

Burton is from Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and when he plays, he burns. Studying at Concordia, Burton's background is a Phish-Zappa fusion smoothed over with classical piano harmonies.

Funk-rockers Josh and Ben Dodds hail from Edmonton. Ben plays drums and Josh plays upright bass and bass guitar.

A southpaw, Josh started playing guitar at 14, flipping the axe upside down, Hendrix-style, rather than attempting to restring it. "People think it's this amazing feat, but it's just the way I learned," he said.

Josh's brother, Ben, has been beating the drums for 19 years. When he's not practicing or performing with Panacea, he also plays in a jazz combo.

Studying at McGill, Chalmer rounds out the foursome. A Vermont native, Chalmer has studied classical music since age three.

The music

"You can't label them. They have too much creativity and too much power," said Nurse, adding that it hurts artists when people assign different categories to creative works. "It discredits music. If I say funk, what's funk? I think it's unfair to pigeonhole music."

Panacea's powerful songs can stand alone, but together they send out a decree; they force a reformation of thought, and their sets become musical narratives.

Songs like "Blade," "Firebird," "Your Momma Does Acid," and "Succubus," reinforce these earthly wills. Their rhythms emotionally climb and hit breaking apexes. They collectively beat back their combined power and, after brief downpours of pace and pattern, keyboards and brass cut through the air, charging full tilt into frays of drums and bass.

When they explode into these funkadelic trips, Chalmer's brass trombone sweats and his ballooned cheeks squeeze into the bristling four-way encounters of strings, skins, brass, and keys. Add the Dodds' convulsive tempo coupled with Burton's electric virtuosity on the keyboards, and Panacea transmits their music as a funk doctrine renaissance.

Named after a medieval female sex demon, their song "Succubus" is a groovable feast of funkatory delights that is pure aural hedonism. The tune begins with a slow, even pulse as Burton reconciles the beat with some erotic key work. After two minutes at a feverish level, Chalmer floats in with a caressing freefall of smooth swells from his trombone.

For Josh Dodds, music is his "Succubus." "I relate it to sex. I love the way it makes me feel," he said. "It makes me feel great: I'm addicted."

According to Ben Dodds, disappointment is the only emotion you won't experience at a Panacea show. "We're not another cover band. We don't play the same stuff over and over," he said.

Full of sonic genius, Panacea asserts old style emotion crashing into futuristic frenzy. These guys are their own heirs to a new force in music - the new force Panacea is creating.

Panacea plays Thursday nights after 9 p.m. at the Crescent Street Pub, at 1221 Crescent St. No cover. If you want some free downloads, the band's website is - The Concordian

"Panacea: for what ails you (Local fusion band brings it all together"

Who would have thought that you could jam out to "Peter the Wolf"? Panacea, a five-member hard groove fusion band, did just that and a whole lot more on Thursday night. Their live album recording at the 1221 Crescent Street Pub packed the bar, as the group delivered a unique and energetic show.

Panacea is Eli Chalmer on trombone, Nick Kurshnit on trumpet, Greg Burton on keyboard, and twins Josh Dodds playing bass and Ben Dodds beating the hell out of the drums. The group had a difficult time finding the exact words to describe their sound. As Burton explained, "We're mod-fusion-no, high-energy fusion. Wait, I've got it-we're progressive heavy groove."

Regardless of labels, Panacea brought it all to the table. Jazz, reggae, soul and a dash of psychedelic funk kept the crowd cheering and the show fresh. Their compelling style, complemented by an equally dynamic stage presence, produced an eclectic, tight performance.

"We're completely different from anything else out there. Our instrumentation is different; the fact that we don't have a guitarist is unique and we create very different, long movements," said Josh Dodds.

He was right: Panacea is skilled at building melodic tension and seamlessly moving from one sound to the next. They had so much energy that it seemed like their instruments were going to burst into one harmonious, musical orgasm.

Burton played the keyboard like a heavy metal star, and Chalmer was, as he colourfully put it, "musically jizzing all over the place." Every band member perceptibly felt the music he created. To kick it up even more, Chalmer repeatedly grabbed the microphone and scatted in tongues to the beat. No one knew what the hell he was saying, but it didn't matter. The crowd loved his gibberish.

As he explained, "I had to provide some craziness to the show. I become insane and just go-I babble like a crazy person." From movement to movement, you never knew what you were going to hear, but you always liked it.

Panacea is defined as a cure-all for any disease, difficulty or evil one may encounter. The boys definitely created enough sound to ward off evil spirits, and their vibrant beats and enthusiastic attitude sent an optimistic vibe throughout the small, smoky bar. So if you're feeling down, go see Panacea any Thursday night at 1221 Crescent Street Pub. They'll jam the life back into you. - The McGill Tribune


2006 March of T (EP)

2007 panacea ( -can be heard on CBC Radio 3 and various podcasts around the globe.



"...from movement to movement you never knew what you were going to hear but you always liked it..." -Mcgill Tribune
"...their performances are utterly intoxicating." -The Concordian
"Panacea's powerful songs can stand alone, but together they send out a decree; they force a reformation of thought, and their sets become musical narratives."-The Concordian
" You can't label them; they have too much creativity and too much power..."-Ronald Nurse (Grimskunk/Indica Records associate)
"{Panacea} is experimental, progressive jazz that caresses and jars the senses, often at the same time... and what they do is tell some interesting stories in a language not totally familiar, yet with enough phrases we can identify that we are comfortable listening."-Calvin Daniels, Yorkton This Week

Five Montreal musicians make up this experimental band. With diverse backgrounds and personalities, the group works to create new music, blending the many sub-genres of jazz and heavy electronica into classically infused compositions.

Plant was formed in Montreal in September 2004 as an experimental collective called Panacea. Twin brothers Ben and Josh Dodds, having completed jazz studies in Edmonton, posted an ad looking for musicians with whom to play and write new music. Trombonist Eli Chalmer, a classical music student at McGill University and Keyboardist Gregory Burton, a jazz student at Concordia University, answered the call. The group found common ground in their artistic expression and began extensive rehearsals for the next nine months. What came out was a high-energy, heavy modern jazz sound that the group was eager to showcase.

After their debut in Montreal in April 2005, the group traveled south to Vermont, where they played a show and ran into trumpet player Nick Kirshnit. The Julliard alumni and Manhattan School of Music dropout joined up on the spot.

In August 2005, Panacea landed a Thursday-night house gig at 1221 Crescent St. Pub in Montreal. With these weekly shows, the band turned the pub into its home, putting on a different show every week, often collaborating with different artists, and garnering a large amount of underground support. In April 2006, they released their first EP, “March of T.” At the release party, the band brought in an avant-garde brass Quintet to play between their sets. The response from Panacea’s fans to this art music was phenomenal. This response inspired Panacea to start an ongoing series called the Montreal Renaissance. In this series, the band brought in a different classical chamber ensemble once a month, each month, to play between Panacea’s sets at Crescent St. Pub. For this, the Montreal Mirror dubbed Panacea “classical revivalists.”

In April 2007, Panacea released their first full-length album, self-titled “Panacea.” Following the release they embarked on a two-month tour across Canada and the Northern States. Panacea has opened for the Mike Clark trio, Mr. Gnome and Josh Roseman and has played festivals with groups such as Antibalas, Golgol Bordello, Toubab Krewe and Bill Frisell.

On November 29th, 2007, Panacea officially changed its name to Plant.

For booking and information please call 514-963-6539 or e-mail

Plant's Influences: Frank Zappa, Cinematic Orchestra, The New Deal, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Nowhere Land, Phish, Dave Holland, Stockhausen, Stravinsky, Mahler, Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Medeski Martin and Wood.

For VIDEO clips and more info, check out the myspace page at
and the website at