Gig Seeker Pro


Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Band Alternative Rock




"Sonically Strong in all the Right Ways"

Vacuity definitely contradicts their name on 'At The Command Of The Blanket Sky', the second full-length album by this Kitchener-based band. Everything about this record is substantial: lyrics that avoid the baby-baby stuff and opt instead for confessional and catharsis, production values that give the proceedings a sort of warmly cozy wall-of-sound at times while leaving room for the silences and hushes that count, and a band sound that is sonically strong in all the right ways, working the dynamics of each track effectively. The overall tone of the album is generally one of dark stoicism and at times things get a little samey because of it; fortunately the musical landscapes are so carefully crafted that the melancholy isn't all that's on offer here. Promising.

-- Rod Nicholson B+ - Scene Magazine

"Nothing Vacuous Here"

Kitchener isn't known for attracting much attention, except for perhaps when it had its name changed from “Berlin” in 1916 to avoid anti-German sentiment during the First World War. But there’s good reason the city should hit the radar again that has nothing to do with history and everything to do with the area’s present music scene.

Enter standouts Vacuity, a quartet slugging it out for a decade-plus whose collective past has seen the interplay of kinship and communal sweat bring them to their recent effort, At the Command of the Blanket Sky. The band just returned from their first cross-country tour on a time-ravaged school bus that reflects their DIY philosophy, and promptly re-released this disc as a free online download, favouring accessibility for their fans over economics.

Blanket Sky is the sound of youthful idealism on the fray and giving way to a mature voice more comfortable with asserting itself. The album’s lyrical tone brings out a winter-like sensibility in its grim realizations that are unconsciously melted away by the band’s earnest truths. The lyrics are peppered with life lessons and disappointments, yet the listener finds hope and connection in the band’s unabashed realism.

The opener, “Wind, Waves and Sea”, is an epic track that’s line “For all those things that you could have been / You fake you fraud you has-been” can be seen as the band calling out the music industry from the fringes. Vocalist Rob McFee imbues each note with such sentiment that listeners evidently believe he’s been where he’s singing about as his voice carries us over the rise and fall of the waves in a journey of transcendence.

The band’s musical cohesion shines on songs like “Tamer Than Anything”, where melodies intertwine to create a rousing, standout track. Bassist Paul McGough’s rolling bass and drummer Emeri Schweigert’s rhythm work set up the singalong chorus while guitarist Greg Osborn’s intricate work holds it all together.

The quietude of songs like “Sirens” and “Rafts” opens a vault of personal demons and introspection without being filler, while “5th of November” commands attention by lending itself to an uptempo dance groove that would cause even the hippest hipster to risk messing up their asymmetrical ’do.

But the star on Blanket Sky is “Beckoning”, which easily reels in listeners with its infectious hook and pleading rhetorical frustration. “What do you want? / What do you want from me? / That’s enough already / Can you please just tell me?” Tracks like “Wolves” and “They Don’t Exist” are catchy rock tunes where the quartet’s melodic stylings are at their finest.

Vacuity’s long history together has worn away the rough edges of conversation over whether they’re meant to play music, and the result is a confidence and musical ability that shines through on Blanket Sky. - Toro Magazine

"Vacuity @ NXNE 2006"

Hometown: Kitchener, ON

Background/Composition: Oh late-'90s alt-rock, where did you go? To Kitchener? Seriously?

Grade: 81

Comment:"Crashing" is a pretty good descriptive term for Vacuity. A decent size crowd turned out considering the band's opening 9 p.m. slot and were wooed by two pounding guitars and a drummer with a love affair for the cymbal.

Achievement of Rock 'n' Roll Expectations
80-100: Exceeds skill and knowledge expectations, i.e. rocked us so hard we peed our pants.
70-79: Achieves required skills and knowledge. Meets rock 'n' roll standard.
60-69:Demonstrates some skills. Approaches rock 'n' roll standard.
50-59: Demonstrates some required skills and knowledge in a limited way.
00-50: Has not demonstrated required skills or knowledge.

Learning Skills: E=Excellent, G=Good, S=Satisfactory, N=Sad Really

Oral And Visual Communication
Eye Contact: S
Pronounciation: S
Stage Presence: G
Stage Banter: N
Image: G
Appearance: G
Use Of Stage: S
Strengths/Weaknesses/NextStep: Another band really into the playing onstage and really not into the talking to and acknowledging of the nearby audience. Not much was said beyond song titles and merch info, though they made up for it with the least pretentious song intro ever — "This next one's about being in a band." Nice.

Musical Analysis
Level Of Participation: G
Problem Solving: S
Teamwork: G
Work Habits: E
Organization: G
Audience Participation: S
Sound: E
Composition: G
Songs: G
Strengths/Weaknesses/NextStep: Vacuity are pretty reminiscent of Matthew Good, back when he made loud, fun rock music with "Band" at the end of his name. Part of that is just their alt-rock sound, but even frontman Rob McFee's voice and singing style bring to mind Good's droney sing-speak, complete with falsetto peaks. Their songs were actually pretty long, but performed so energetically they didn't feel it — if I hadn't lost my watch two nights ago, I wouldn't have been checking it.

Other Skills And Areas Of Interest
Charisma: G
Problem Solving: G
Teamwork: E
Sexiness: G
Haircut: E
Indie Rock Footwear: G
Nods To Disposible Fashion: E
Cool Equipment: S
Level Of Inebriation: S
Actual Ability: G
Strengths/Weaknesses/NextStep: A nice variety of indie rock grooming, from shaggy sideburns and emo glasses to short-cropped hair and stubble a la Jack from Lost. Clothing was a bit more uniform — the tried and true jeans/t-shirt combo. Good work including one of those long mid-song pauses, which inevitably confuse that one guy in the back of the room into premature clapping. Always funny!
- Chart Attack

"Introducing Vacuity"

It was a Wednesday night (not the most appropriate night to go see a rock concert considering some of us have to work in the morning), but nonetheless iheartthemusic ventured out to Tattoo Rock Parlour to check out New Jersey rock & roll band The Parlor Mob. Though that’s who we originally went to see, we got side swiped by the opening act, Vacuity. This Kitchener-Waterloo band consists of Rob McFee (vocals/guitar), Greg Osborn (guitar), Paul McGough (bass) and Emeri Schweigert (drums). Having heard from a fellow photographer at the show that this was a band to watch, I anxiously awaited their arrival on stage. Being under the impression that I was attending a hardcore rock concert, which is usually not my style of music, my ears were pleasantly surprised by what they heard.Vacuity

Vacuity opened their set with a softer edge, which was a nice way for me to transition into what was to come over the course of the evening. Rob’s voice was reminiscent of Chris Martin and as I looked around the room (even though there were’t many people in attendance), I could tell that my fellow listeners were equally impressed. Vacuity played a mixture of soft and hard rock songs from their recently released album At the Command of the Blanket Sky, which melded perfectly together to create a listening experience that was both pleasing and soothing to the ear. What struck me the most by this band was the mixture of musical techniques Robincorporated into their stage performance; at one point guitarist, Greg, was on the keyboards while simultaneously playing the glockenspiel! They even used sound decks and a computer to mix different beats which filtered seamlessly into the background (courtesy of “sometimes” bandmate Jamie). If that weren’t enough, by the time their sixth song, “Beckoning”, came around they produced a rather satirical homage to the state of the economy as an announcer proclaimed over the speakers, “Anything that goes wrong you blame the government… corporations have no Pauldefect… focus everything on the government…” (this was rather appropriate considering the band is unsigned and giving away their record free online!). Although there was one minor technical glitch during the set (technology at its finest), one thing was undeniable - these boys really do know how to play and the skill level of each was evident on stage.

The band told me that they owe their comfort level on stage to having known each other most of their lives. “We’ve been around [each other] for about 12 years because we went to high school together,” said Rob, ” but 2004 was kind of our first attempt at becoming a band by putting out a CD.” The band has grown a lot since their high school years and recently released At the Command of the Blanket Sky(on their own, we might we add). When asked why they decided on this title Rob explained, Greg“It was just an all-encompassing thing. The songs are a lot about life and there is a large variation of different themes on the CD and that title brought it all together.” Guitarist Greg added, “The themes we were dealing with were a lot of blankets descending, so really it was taken from lyrics from the CD and thematically it works.”

VacuityWhat you may be pleased to know is that this album is available free for download on their website, “We’ve decided to release the record online for free,” said Paul. “We just decided to do it because we want to get our music out there and the best way to do that is to just give it up. If everybody likes it that’s great, we would rather people were hearing it.” So what’s next for these up-and-comers? “We are releasing a whole bunch of EPs free this year and then after that we will try and make another physical album out of them,” said Rob. “We are just trying to get the music tuned into as many people’s ears as possible and using the Internet to do it!” The boys are hitting the road in March to do their SECOND cross-Canada Tour in support of Blanket Sky. Be sure to check them out when they hit your town, and in the meantime, go download the album (trust us, you won’t be disappointed!) - I Heart the Music

"Lessons and Rewards"

Jason Schneider
For NightLife

The members of Vacuity admit the last couple of years have provided several revelations about how the music business works. But with lessons learned, their latest album, At The Command Of The Blanket Sky, has been their most rewarding recording project yet.

The Kitchener four-piece, all in their mid-20s, seemed poised to make a breakthrough with their previous EP but ultimately got lost in a major label shuffle. However, they have bounced back strong with the new album, a creatively bold song cycle that evokes vintage Radiohead and other contemporary British art-rockers.

Making it proved to be a test of both their loyalty and stamina.

"We recorded a lot of it at the house we lived in on Victoria Street,'' says guitarist Greg Osborn. "But after we moved out of there we had to record any place we could find, which became a bit of a challenge. So when people tell me the album sounds good, I really appreciate it because it took a lot more work than we anticipated.''

Given the sweeping atmospheres of some of the tracks, it's even more remarkable how the band was able to pull them off while recording on the fly. But bassist Paul McGough says they had a clear vision for the album from day one.

"We've never really been happy with things we've put out in the past, but we're really proud of this record after working on it for a year. We sort of had unrealistic expectations when we were all 20 and our first record started opening some doors.

"It's easy to look back now and say that we weren't ready and the songs weren't there.''

Instead, Osborn says they tried not to place any expectations on At The Command Of The Blanket Sky.

"I like to think we took more of a Neil Young approach in just doing what felt right to us and putting it out. Sticking with that mentality really helped a lot in keeping us focused, and probably brought out better performances too. Trying to make music according to other people's standards never works.''

What perhaps sets Vacuity further apart is the strong social commentary in some of its lyrics. While this is largely the domain of singer/guitarist Rob McFee, the others say they take to heart the messages he tries to get across in the songs.

"Blame it all on books,'' McGough jokes. "We've all read Chomsky and things like that that got passed around while we were living together. I think a lot of this album is a reflection of that initial desire we had when we bought our house to somehow balance our creative lives and working lives, which a lot of people can't do.''

Still, Osborn thinks the album crosses enough boundaries to have a wide appeal.

"We definitely didn't want this record to be perceived as this heavy thing of either you get it or you don't,'' he says. "We're a lot more impartial to some of the messages now that we've been living with the songs for so long. But there's enough mindless pop in the world that I think there's plenty of people willing to connect with what we're doing.''


"Vacuity: Road Edition"

Jason Schneider
for NightLife

It's a rite of passage that every band has to experience: the first cross-country tour. It can either affirm everything they have been working toward, or it can be soul-destroying. With Kitchener modern rock quartet Vacuity having just returned from their first jaunt to the West Coast, the members are still feeling in a philosophical mood when discussing what it all means to them.

"We've partially taken to calling this experience a field study adventure, rather than a tour," says vocalist/guitarist Rob McFee.

"In other words, we learned a lot. Things like: don't buy a tour bus through eBay; if someone leaves an extra Twinkie lying around, I will eat it; and also, people can be responsive to good music in the least likely of places."

Vacuity has been prepared to go on tour since the release of its latest album, At The Command Of The Blanket Sky, late last year.

Although the band has gigged around Ontario on a regular basis since then, it seemed inevitable that the album's sweeping, Radiohead-esque sound was too big to simply be contained within local clubs.

The tour has seemed to confirm those sentiments for the band members, too. "Touring always makes a band tighter, or breaks them up," says bassist Paul McGough. "Let's just say I am really glad we have been playing together since we have been kids. As far as it making us a different band, I would say no, just a tighter, more worn-in band.

"When we were in Vancouver, a homeless gentleman was asking us some questions about the band and he mentioned that we really looked road worn. That definitely made us all think, 'wow, we really need to assess our current state.' "

They add that most other reactions to them were generally positive, especially when they disclosed their hometown.

"To be honest, I was expecting to be asked where that was in relation to Toronto a lot, but people all over the country seem pretty familiar with the K-W area," McFee says. "Being this close to Toronto there is always the temptation to simplify things by saying we are from Toronto, but since our roots are so deep in this area we have made sure to make it clear that we aren't another Toronto band."

That attitude is sure to extend to Vacuity's next album, which they plan to begin recording shortly. Therefore, expect to hear some new material at the band's latest string of shows.

"We also have some plans that will change the way we've been 'conceptualizing' records," drummer Emeri Schweigert says. "The first thing we're doing is making our last album available as a free download from our website. So now you have a choice to download it or grab a hard copy at the show. The point is if you want the music, you can get it. Duplicating a physical item and replicating data are not the same thing. This line of thinking has led to a slew of other ideas that we aren't quite ready to share just yet."

Live Vacuity w/The Free Press Saturday, Dec. 13 The Boathouse, Kitchener Tickets $5 Show starts at 9 p.m. On the web at - The Record

"Vacuity: Come On Get Real"


By Adrian Ma


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Come On Get Real

While their band's name may denote a lack of
substance, Vacuity are a pop-rock act that makes music
with ample emotion, depth and sonic texture. Hailing
from Kitchener, the foursome has recently released a
new six track EP entitled Come On Get Real, a follow-up
to their 2004 debut LP The Middle Ground. Bassist Paul
McGough, guitarist Greg Osborn, drummer Emeri
Schweigert and singer/guitarist Rob Mcfee are self-
taught musicians that have been friends since
childhood. They formed Vacuity nearly a decade ago,
and this intimate history of collaboration is evident from
the very first track - Come On Get Real is a concisely
written and tightly performed collection of energetic
songs in the vein of British chart-toppers Muse and
EP opener "Backstabber" bristles with the anxious
despair of a betrayed lover, a sinister sounding blend
stabbing guitars and breathless vocals. The lush,
layered, and stadium-lite rock of "Today Is The Day"
showcases Mcfee's superlative vocal range and control,
as he weaves around the ballad with stirring falsettos
and soaring harmonies. Other songs like "Strings" and
"Misfire" are impressive cuts that anchor the EP's dark,
brooding atmosphere.As far as the disc's production
goes, few independent bands are as well-recorded and
beautifully mixed. Musically, the songs are good -
dynamic and fairly catchy - but nothing that really stands
out from the music of their contemporaries (see: Travis,
Pilate, and other moody pop-rock bands that are
relentlessly accused of sounding vaguely like
Radiohead). But the EP remains a strong outing from a
band that has excellent potential to be a force on the
Canadian music charts. - Echo Weekly

"Vacuity: The Middle Ground"

It’s too late for Valentine’s Day, but I just discovered four real ladies’ men.

Rob McFee, Paul McGough, Greg Osborn and Emeri Schweigert are Vacuity, an alt-rock group from Kitchener, Ontario.

Their little-known debut release, The Middle Ground, has been out since April 2004 but you won’t find it unless you’re looking. I just got my hands on it and now it’s locked in my stereo on repeat.

The word “vacuity” pops up in the media, properly describing the mental and moral state of murderers, rapists and the Bush administration. But there’s no lyrical vacuity on The Middle Ground. Maybe the band is being ironic.

So how do they woo the women? It’s their passion and heart-on-their-sleeves lyrics. The intimate songs are laden with emotion. “With our love/slipping through the cracks in the walls/though we tried to seal them all/just to hold you, hold you/don’t forget what I told you,” McFee sings on “Sparkcatcher”, the album’s sixth track.

The album is a fusion of hope and despair. They have a little Smashing Pumpkins in them; there’s rage and there’s tenderness. These are catchy tunes. And most impressive, guys in their early-20s wrote them. How did they get so insightful? When you get the album, make sure you read the lyrics, but try not to count the clich?s – we’ll let that go.

Most of the songs are about fate, love and relationships. “Promises, Promises” is a standout track about false hope, doubt and lovers contemplating their destiny. “In reaction to your heartbeat/in a fractured piece of your reflection/I’ve been eager to please, eager to please/for far too long.”

The opening track, “Misdirectional”, will pull you in. This song is about the power of others’ expectations, losing control and rushing around with no sense of direction or raison d’etre. “It’s all in the fates we are choosing today/it’s all in the destinies made possible today/and if I could change, I would change nothing/but if you look back I fear you’ll be missing something in your heart, that they stole/whatever it was you lost when you handed them control.” Toward the end of the song, there are some weird sounds like a video game left on pause. This is entirely possible because the album is homemade.

The Middle Ground is completely self-produced: recorded, mixed, and mastered in a basement studio. This is part of its charm; it’s not over-polished or homogenized. The tracks are distinct and can stand-alone. The mood changes several times over the 60-minute record, but the final product is seamless. It has the same effect as the famous love story, Casablanca. When it gets to the end, you can’t believe it’s over.

Pick up this album and be the first of your friends to discover Vacuity. The band will be touring in the summer and you will be able to say, “I told you so,” soon enough.

You can buy The Middle Ground online at An EP is planned for release in the coming months. - 411 Mania

"Vacuity: At the Command of the Blanket Sky"

Vacuity: At the Command of the Blanket Sky
Review by Dan Meagher

When a band dreams out its future they always strive for that one golden moment where they fire on all cylinders and just get it right. For Kitchener’s Vacuity, hard work and a relentless attention to detail has brought that dream to fruition with their latest disc At the Command of the Blanket Sky.

The quartet of high school friends who have lived the rock cliché of dingy clubs and sparse crowds over the last decade now find themselves backed by a collection of songs that stand well amongst the works of their influences. From the moment the sweeping, tour-de-force, three-part epic “Wind, Waves and Sea” fades into memory the listener has already been transported into the world beyond the surface. Now that they have our attention, Vacuity leads the way through a psychological exercise for the soul.

The stand-out “Beckoning” uses a blues-inspired guitar hook to draw us into the protagonist’s battle with personal demons. Yet, it’s a different set of personal demons at play in “The 5th of November” which serves as a trip through the mind and day-planner of a terrorist wrestling with his calling in life.

Singer-guitarist Rob McFee does his lyrical best to put the listener in unfamiliar landscapes and mind-spaces throughout the record demonstrating a reflective capacity obviously honed through years of astute observation and wild imagination. However, any great record relies on a tight relationship between the lyrics and the instruments – and this is where Vacuity shines on Blanket Sky.

Easily one of the shining lights in Vacuity’s career is the track “They Don’t Exist” with Greg Osborn’s intricate guitar leads laid over some infectious rhythm work. It is a rare tune that stands tall amongst the catchiest radio pop as well as alongside rock’s most accessible ventures. The song is also the first leg of a mid-album trinity that surrounds McFee’s one-take, acoustic “Sirens” with the triumphant bass groove and big radio chorus of “Tamer than Anything.”

The rhythm section of drummer Emeri Schweigert and bassist Paul McGough eschew years of chemistry throughout the album and remain crisply in-synch whether on their moments in the sun like the thumping “Wolves” or on the album’s quieter melodic moments such as “The Worst Thing” which struggles with the corporate world’s disconnect with humanity.

A fitting end to the disc is the driving escape of “The Effect is Night” which starts as a pitter-patter lullaby before developing into a full-blown rocker with a dark edge that is the kind of jam bands hope to find a precious few times in their careers.

One thing that becomes obvious upon listening to Blanket Sky is the sheer weight of the lessons learned by the members of Vacuity over their years in a harsh industry and what can be a harsh world. In realizing the perils surrounding us, deep-thinkers and true artists strive for meaning, direction and something to work for – and Vacuity provides a head-start for us all on this album.

Check out the free download on and discover the world under the blanket sky. A labour of love for four guys from Kitchener will be an hour you’ll want to re-live over and over again. - Fazer Magazine

"Live Music at The Horseshoe"

But it was the night's headliners, Vacuity, a four-piece band from Kitchener, who really made the show. In addition to playing a stellar set of songs off their new album, At the Command of the Blanket Sky, conveniently being released that night, the band had assembled an impressive visual display of stock video clips, flashes of colour, and clips of the performance in progress streamed from cameras located on the singer's microphone, above the drum kit, and just below the strings of the bass guitar. When this was combined with the extended jams and intros/outros that created almost seamless transitions between their electric-guitar-driven, pedal-heavy songs, it created a veritably staggering walla of noise. Without hyperbolizing, this was so complex and awe-inspiring that it took an acoustically-played harmonica-enhanced encore from the lead singer to rouse the crowd from a starry-eyed post head-banging reverie. - Demo Magazine


The Middle Ground (2004)
Come On Get Real (2006)
At the Command of the Blanket Sky (2008)



Rob McFee (guitar and vox), Paul McGough (bass), Greg Osborn (lead guitar) and Emeri Schweigert (percussion) of Kitchener, Ontario are the founding members the alt-rock force Vacuity. Their music is lyrically compelling, conscientious and provocative, fused with entrancing and danceable post-grunge rhythm, eloquent guitar and mixed-media percussion. Cinematographer Jamie Usas regularly contributes an innovative visual component to Vacuity's performances, projecting live digital video of the band in sequence with haunting images inspired by their music.

For their debut release, The Middle Ground [2004], Vacuity toured Maritime Canada with Pilot Speed and garnered the support of Maple Music. Soon after their first tour, the band played by invitation at the Umbrella Music Anniversary show at Toronto's Rivoli Night Club. Vacuity continues to perform at high profile events like NxNE, Canadian Music Magazine's 25th Anniversary party, COCA and the North Bay Heritage Festival.

Vacuity has shared the stage with such acts as Alannah Miles, Hugh Dillon and the Redemption Choir, Howie Beck, The Junction, God Made Me Funky, Will Currie & The Country French, The Meligrove Band and Spirits. Vacuity's 2006 EP, Come On Get Real, was produced by Tod Cutler (Pilot Speed, The Trews, Sarah Slean). To promote their current album, At the Command of the Blanket Sky [2008], the band toured extensively across Western Canada in 2008 and 2009.

Vacuity is currently recording the much anticipated follow-up album, The Black Hour. Release and tour dates are to be announced in early 2012.