"The Mike Luno Band plays energetic, crowd-pleasing original music. Great musicianship and a fun performance - from a three-piece band! I'll have them back!"
-Bruce Gerrish, Artistic Director, Vancouver City Limits Entertainment Inc.
A sampling from the audience, December 17 (the un-plugged show):
"Rush-like vocals, Sting-like persona - extremely entertaining!" - Elaine
"Great vocals!" - Fred
"Great music!" - Daniela
"I thought you were really quite good, actually." - anonymous but urbane gentleman
...and back to the electric approach...
"Awesome!" - Rob
"If you're a drummer, you've gotta watch the Mike Luno Band. Curtis' drummin' IS the show - but I'm a drummer too!" - Oliver
"Thanks for a great show!" - Joe
Audience response to the Princeton Performances with Kirby Green on bass:
"Definitely different, and thoroughly entertaining!" - Holly Steinson
"Such a fun and funky night!" - Kristen Soo
Album Review of Get Inside by Ben Steinson. Used by permission. (Thanks, Ben!)
Here's something a little different in many ways. First off, it's a local band whom I've seen many times in concert. Second off, the sound is a little rawer than what I normally post (I won't say 'amateurish' since the musicians are all supremely talented - including the touring bassists etc. - but it does have that 'homegrown' feel). Third, there's none of the interminable jamming that I usually gush so much about here; instead, there's just song after song after tight song, and all of them are based on great ideas, sometimes even with ideas in surplus.
The title track, "Get Inside", is a great showcase of what you can expect from most of the rest of the album, with tenor vocals, highly interesting rhythm and lead guitar parts, great drumming, and just tons of neat little things that set these guys apart from Random Garage Band #42, like the awesome syncopated instrumental break seperating the verses and later subverted near the end.
"Heart Beat Up" is mostly a vocal and percussion feature. I love Mike's harmonies and drummer Curtis Leippi's almost minimalistic rhythms. As the song goes on, more and more parts are added, giving this great buildup that climaxes about 2 and a half minutes in.
After such a relatively 'low-key' piece, what better to follow than the energetic and somewhat more tense "Everything's for Sale"? I love the piano work here, as well as the backing beat and the lightning-speed vocals. And that cheeky little ending to the guitar solo cracks me up.
"Okanagan Summer", right from its opening instrumental, is one of the more, shall I say, 'odd' numbers? There's so much going on here, I don't feel confident enumerating all the cool things about it. I'll just say it's probably the closest in tone, arrangement and essence to the rest of the stuff I've been posting about.
All of a sudden, here comes a much heavier, almost METALLIC song in "Caesar's Palace". The sheer variety of musical styles and influences in this album never ceases to amaze me. Love the aggressive tone and the angry but beautiful guitar solo.
"Soul to Taste" is, guess what, another tone shift, back to beautiful vocal harmonies and incredibly-tight rhythms (I love the shuffling 6/8 figure). Bonus points for the spacey lead guitar.
I guess "Exposure" is the primary promotional single from the album (they shot a video for it and everything), and with good reason. Not only is it the most 'standard' in format, it's also probably the tightest in terms of songwriting, with solid rhythms on percussion and guitar. One of the best songs I could suggest to get into the band.
Oh man, I get such a Police vibe from "Part-time Panacea". I love it. It's totally different from the rest of the album in tone - but similar in all the ways that matter. Special attention to the harmonies on this one.
"Free or Dear" is more of a roller-coaster ride, picking up the energy as each verse progresses before dropping it again for the next verse. I love the sudden 6/4 bridge about three minutes in. Also sometimes when the verses pick up again, the drums come in a half-beat late like the melodic instruments, a small thing with a huge effect.
If there's a case to be made that any track on this album is weak, it would probably centre around "Pretty Good Joke". It's not bad music at all, but it does sound slightly redundant, given the rest of the album. I just feel like "Get Inside" covered most of this ground already.
"Nothing Like the Wrong Thing" is a departure from the 'sameness' of the preceding song - not to say that it doesn't have lots of similarities to the rest of the album, but it doesn't feel redundant at all. The band is channeling something awesome, some musical influence or idea that sounds very familiar but I can't quite put my finger on.
The album closer, "Rugburn", is just fun. Lightning-speed vocals make their triumphant return, as do unbelievably-tight percussive rhythms. Midway through the song there's an awesome guitar and percussion feature (almost Crimson-esque? I dunno, but it's great) - and I just love that funky rhythm guitar bit. Couldn't have asked for a more fun album closer.
This is the best local band I've yet to hear, bar none. I highly encourage you to go check them out
Have you seen Mike Luno Band live? Want to add your own testimonial? Contact us and let us know!