The Sidewalks
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The Sidewalks

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada | INDIE

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock


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The Sidewalks @ Baba's Lounge

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

The Sidewalks @ Peakes Quay

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

The Sidewalks @ Zaphod Beeblebrox

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



The Sidewalks, The Wax Buckets and Take The Boys at L'Hémisphère Gauche

I must admit that I have been missing quite a few shows since the beginning of the year. The cold of the winter often discourage me of dragging myself outside and I often miss shows that happened during the week since most of the time, I need to leave before the end because I've got this thing called work the next day.

Last Friday though, not even the arctic cold would have kept me home. Fortunately, for me it was like 7 degrees outside.

So I showed up at around 9pm at l'Hémisphère Gauche. First thing I must say is that I really like this venue. Not only there's enough space to dance but the dance floor is conveniently separated from the drinking area. There's also a small edge around the dance floor where you can leave your glass while you dance.

To my surprised the first band was The Sidewalks. For some reason I expected to be last but either way they sure rocked the place like if there was no tomorrow. This band from the Maritimes currently only have one album with only 8 songs on it but don't be fooled, this band got some content. The set list was satisfyingly long enough for an opening band. They played most of what we can find on Better Late Than Never (if not everything) starting with Ready, Set, Go! but also S.O.S From The Burlesque, Guess What and one of my favorite On Empty. Of course, they also played Better Late Than Never which the crowd particularly enjoyed, and funny ska cover of Lady Gaga's Poker Face and some new material from their upcoming album. It should come out in July and let me tell you if it's anything like what I heard that night, it will be a great album. I especially hope Sandbox will be on there! I briefly talked to Chris after their set and he seemed happy with their first time in the city. He also gave me a copy of Better Late Than Never, thanks and keep me posted.

Second band was the Wax Buckets. I was happy to see them that night, I finally had the chance to take some videos of the septet. I had seem them before but the venues did not do them justice at all. It seems a bit tight for 7 people on the stage but they didn't seemed much bothered by this and they served us a good dose of ska punk like only the band knows how to do it. From their set list, I especially enjoyed Junkie, Hijacking The Scene and their cover of The Ramones. The only thing I will critique and I know I'm probably annoying about this, is that the vocals didn't seem loud enough. Micheal uses his own mic, a old school looking mic kinda like the one Alex Giguère uses during his shows. I spoke a bit with Mélanie, the sax player, before their set and she presented me the rest of the band. The Wax Buckets have been through quite a few member change but seems like now the band is solid and will stay this way for a while. I also asked Mélanie if there was an album coming up soon. She responded that they are currently saving up for it and hopefully they will be able to work on it this Fall. So, if you would like to encourage them, come to their show and buy some merch. Talking about their merch, Mick and Mélanie do their own buttons out of beer caps!

The evening took a softer turn when Take The Boys took the stage. After such a long time, I was finally able to buy their album. What can I say about this reggae/soul band that hasn't been said before? They offered us a very long set with everyone favorites: Closure, Skin Deep, Burn Marks and many many more. I would have like to hear Higher and Higher but then again I am not sure they ever play this song live. However, they played a song called Waiting (I don't know if it's new but it's not on their current album) which I really liked. The band also played popular covers such as Santeria and 54-46 What's My Number?

It was in overall a very enjoyable and successful evening. With Spring at our door I'll definitely be going to more show and hopefully Nat will be able to accompany me.

On a side note, I would like to thanks Social Denis whom I have met for the first time that evening although we've been talking a few times through MySpace, for inviting me along and always keeping me posted about shows at l'Hémisphère Gauche.


- Caroline from SkaMontreal


I saw The Sidewalks perform live (for the first time, anyway) at the very beginning of this year. And ever since, I've been looking forward to the release of the Charlottetown band's first CD.

That's the magic of a Sidewalks gig. Their upbeat tunes are just so damn fun. You leave feeling happy. And, simply, in a better mood than you were before you got there.

And now you can take that feeling with you, even after leaving the bar.

Better Late Than Never, which drops this Friday, is chocka-block full of fun anthems, killer guitar riffs and "skalternative" good times. But who could forget the horn section? (That's right. This band has a trumpet and a trombone.) But The Sidewalks blend the horns, guitars and drums so effortlessly, it makes a person wonder why every band doesn't have a split valve or two.

This easy-going ska/rock combo is what makes The Sidewalks easily one of the best new bands coming out of PEI today. The only thing this band could do to impress me further is bring out a full-length album. (I'm talkin' ASAP, boys. Hop to it. Quick like a bunny.)

The 7-track EP is nothing less than superb, although it still doesn't compare with their high energy live performances. The guys have really proved to be great songwriters, lyrically and otherwise.

"Better Late Than Never" is the quintessential let's-hang-out-and-get-drunk song while "Ready, Set, Go" is a throwback to the dirty days when long, unwashed hair was a-okay. (Y'know, the '90s?)

"SOS (From The Burlesque)" is another fun song to get your skank on to. "Guess What" is the band's audience participation song. It's a little ska, a little pop punk and a lot of fun.

Things slow down a bit with "A Better Way". The chilling guitar between choruses is enough to give the listener goosbumps- but in a good way. And the lyrics in this one? Mixed metaphors and old phrases, twisted into a tasty music pretzel.

Ending the album on a high note is the deliciously old-school "On Empty".
- East Coast Overture--Jill Hamilton

Written by David Yazbeck

Charlottetown's The Sidewalks haven't been around for long, but they've been making big waves on the Atlantic coast with their hard rocking style of ska music. The five piece band, comprised of Chris Gallant (Guitar, Vocals), Jamie O'Brien (Bass, Vocals), Robyn Verhoeven (Trumpet, Synth), Steve Giddings (Trombone, Vocals) and Josh Pitre (Drums), only started gigging in June of 2008. The band started working with Sandbar Music Group later that year, and scored a key gig at the ECMAs, selected based solely on the quality of their music and live show. Recording continued through 2009 until, just recently, their debut EP - Better Late Than Never - was released.

Better Late Than Never is an excellent debut for a young band which shows enormous promise. Ready, Set, Go! sets the pace from the beginning: the song opens with a simple but big guitar riff, making you think this is going to be a straight up hard rock song. But the horns join in almost immediately, and then that fantastic ska beat steps up. A foot stomping chorus, with plenty of great horns and hard guitar, this is a showpiece track that should get radio play near you. S.O.S.(From the Burlesque) keeps the ska energy going, with a cool bass line, awesome organ sound, and of course those great horns. Vocals here are just infectious as the music - Chris Gallant's voice has a great range, which is powerful and exuberant and more than able to carry the ska banner. I am reminded of Ed Robertson of the Ladies, but also hear a bit of Bosstones and even Sublime.

The Sidewalks certainly know their ska pedigree - and while imitation is the highest form of flattery, the band still maintains to put out a unique sound. So, while most of the remaining tracks keep up the ska pace, others explore areas of alternative rock. A Better Way is more of slow groove stoner song (think 311) and On Empty is a hyped up rock song with horns, big drums and a cool slide guitar solo. Down Too Fast ends with a pretty horn riff - not really part of the song, but a small twist which evokes the best of the great jazz horn players like Davis and Coltrane. These guys know their roots.

I caught up with Chris Gallant via the internet and asked him some questions about the band - here's our exchange:

NxEW: When we hear about East Coast music we tend to think of rootsier music, often celtic inspired. Ska seems to be about as far away you can get from that sound. How did you get into ska music in that milieu? What's it like being a ska band on the east coast? In Canada?

Chris: It was a desire to do something different than what everyone is already hearing on the East Coast. Being the only “ska” guy in the band I immediately thought of the music that's always on my playlists at a party: Sublime, Reel Big Fish, Save Ferris. But we didn't want to make it overly cheesy, either: when it's too cheesy it dies in a couple years. We wanted to push the envelope a bit in terms ofstyle—the musical diversity within the band members allows us to do that and still keep the crowd dancing and enjoying themselves. We use “ska” as a descriptor but not as a catch-all term for our music because it's really just the backbone in our sound. Being in a ska band on the East Coast is a lot of fun. People don't realize how much they like this kind of music, and those who do embrace what we're doing. I think it's refreshing for both ourselves and our listeners. Everybody likes to have fun and we love to have fun with everybody. When you come off that way people respond positively.

NxEW: Your web info says that you gained popularity from your energetic live performance and your stage antics. What are these stage antics? Are they part of you as a group or do they also come from the ska style of music?

Chris: Our antics stem from our camaraderie as a band combined with oura ffection for satire regarding pop culture and internet memes (we watch an unhealthy amount of YouTube...). Each one of us have our own way of showing our excitement on stage. Whether it be Josh's facial expressions behind the kit, Jamie's one liner's or Robyn hopping around the stage with a tambourine, it's always genuine. We all seem to think that we're comedians, too. The audience loves the energy and gets excited which further fuels the band even more and it's a continuous circle until the end of set. You're left thinking: “Whatj ust happened to me? That was fun!” I think a part of it also comes from the style of music, though: the off-beat is the dance beat, and ska is definitely centered around the off-beat.

I could be completely wrong, though. Maybe it's because our trombone player, Steve, is so full of rage that he scares the audience into dancing...

NxEW: You were able to score some gigs at the 2009 ECMAs. I view the ECMAs as being an excellent showcase of local talent and a source of new, great music in Canada. What do the ECMAs mean to you? What was it like to perform there this year?

Chris: Performing there was great. We were invited over purely on merit and our live show—we didn't have an album out at this point. We actually recorded, “Ready, Set, Go!” just a week before we hopped on the boat so that there would be something to listen to if anybody wanted to check us out before or after a show. There was constant music at the ECMAs—if you walked around with a guitar or a cowbell you were sure to find a kitchen party to jump into. We took in a lot of concerts and workshops. We learned a lot from all of the artists on the East Coast and had insane amounts of fun.

The ECMAs gave us a chance to experience what touring life will be like and to grow together as a band. It also gave us a chance to get our drink on, network and chum around with other local bands we hadn't really interacted with previously. Having not been on the road previously we were nervous about what aggravations would boil up in small quarters but nothing like that happened. The ECMAs solidified us as a five-pack of fun-loving musicians.

NxEW: For me, ska music is totally infectious. Yet ska does not seem to enjoy the popularity it deserves. Do you have the same sense? What reaction do you get doing shows across the country?

Chris: Any place we've been to so far we've been uproariously complimented on our musical flavor. "Man, we don't hear stuff like this EVER!" or "I didn't like that cover of *so and so* before I heardyou guys play it!" are things we've often heard after performing for a new audience. We take pride in our diversity and wield it as a weapon to slay skeptics and squares alike!

I would say in general that ska does not get the recognition it deserves. I think it just needs to be presented the right way, though—we call our music “Skalternative Rock” because we don't want the prejudice of ska being cheesy and shallow to reach the audience before we have. We've had metal heads come up to us after a show and tell us how much fun they had. Ska music is not just a sonic entitybut an entire entertainment package. If we just stood in one spot all night, didn't move and played our music, I think we'd find different results. Ska is about the atmosphere as much as the sound. It's about everyone having fun, dancing and being involved in the music.

NxEW: You refer to your version of ska as 4th wave, with a mix oftraditional ska sounds but plenty of pop and hard rock influences. Was that deliberate - to make your ska sound more accessible? Or is it just a natural result of the music you listen to?

Chris: It's both deliberate and not. We didn't want to limit ourselves to one sound—we wanted to evolve on ska by taking our influences and shaping it. At the same time, we [wouldn't] sit down and say:"Alright, today let's write a hard rock song so that the hard rock crowd likes us.” It just comes together without force. I'll usually show up to jam with a new riff and someone else will almost immediately hear a real vibe the song is setting. We extrapolate on what the song tells us and what it makes us feel, then use everyone's feedback as the hands and spinning wheel to sculpt the mood into one of our skalternative gargoyles. It helps that we're not all straight up rock and roll guys. I'm the ska and alternative guy, Josh sports the indie tunes, Robyn loves classic rock, jazz and funk, Jamie is the resident metal head and Steve brings his classical training into play. With all these colours we're able to make the music that we do.

NxEW: Your debut 7 track EP has just hit the streets. What's next? What are your tour plans? Thoughts on the next record?

Chris: We'll be hitting the road every chance we can to promote the new album. We're confirming our stops around the Maritimes this Fall and plans to tour Ontario and Quebec are in the works for the Spring. We write a lot and get excited over new material so a new record will likely get cut in time for a Summer release in 2010. And like “Better Late Than Never,” we're not going to force anything in the writin gprocess. We want our records to reflect the mood at the times they are written.

Thanks Chris for that great exchange! The Sidewalks are currently gigging around Eastern Canada - you can see them at the following fine venues:

20 Oct 2009 The Capital w/The Brains Fredericton, NB
21 Oct 2009 Hunter’s w/Attack In Black Charlottetown, PEI
24 Oct 2009 Club 1668 w/Little King Hunter Halifax, NS
7 Nov 2009 Baba’s w/The Idler’s Charlottetown, PEI
13 Nov 2009 The Harmony House--Youth Showcase Hunter River, PEI
26 Nov 2009 Baba’s Lounge w/City Sirens Charlottetown, PEI
5 Dec 2009 Club 1668 w/The Stogies Halifax, NS - NxEW


"Hanging on a Wire" Single, January 2011
"Better Late Than Never" 7 track EP, Sept 11 2009
"Better Late Than Never" Single, July 2009
"Ready, Set, Go!" Single, Feb 2009



"They sure rocked it like there was no tomorrow." -Caroline, SkaMontreal

“Skalternative” is a unique form of rock crafted by five small-town boys from PEI. Their big city dreams, diverse (almost contradictory) musical background, and love for entertaining has put them in front of Gene Simmons, on stage with illScarlett, Crash Karma, and You Say Party, and gotten their music on Live With Regis and Kelly.

Playing over 100 shows since their formation in 2008, The Sidewalks have developed a stage show full of energy, showmanship, and humorous banter which has landed slots at the 2010 East Coast Music Awards, the 2010 Music PEI Awards, and the 2010 Sunseeker’s Ball. In 2010 alone the Sidewalks drove 20,000 kilometers on three separate tours which included a debut performance at Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern. 2011 will see the band on the road again with a fourth tour in March, returning to The Horseshoe during Juno Week, and debuting at Ottawa’s best known concert venue, Zaphod’s Beeblebrox.

The Sidewalks can be summed up into one word: fun. Catch them on tour in 2011 as they continue to hit the pavement with their tight groove, memorable hooks, and stage drama.

For more information contact

“Better Late Than Never is an excellent debut for a young band which shows enormous promise.” -David Yazbeck, North by East West

“The 7-track EP is nothing less than superb...The guys have really proved to be great songwriters, lyrically and otherwise.” -Jill Hamilton, East Coast Overture