It would be awkward if The Ascot Royals ever stopped making me dance

So by now I think very few people will catch on that I attempt to reference song titles in the blog titles. Those who do? I hope they amuse you. One of the highlights of this years Canadian Music Week were both sets that I got to see by The Ascot Royals. For those of you who haven’t seen them yet, you are absolutely 100% missing out on a good time. I’ve turned down some really big shows on numerous occasions to go see them play and I don’t think that will ever change.


First stop was their live to air set for Indie Love Radio. Several artists were there to do a live acoustic set including my good friends Fast Romantics who played immediately before them. The boys decided to mix it up a bit and play an electric set (also ahead of time they were advised they could do a full band set). In a small hotel room at the Royal York it was definitely a BIG sound, and no one complained. There was a little back and forth between host Kathryn and the boys when she asked where they were from. The Ascot Royals are based out of Brantford, Ontario; but most of the time when someone asks where they are from it’s due to brothers Jimmy (Lead Vocalist) and Ben (Keyboardist) having a slight British accent. Jesse (bassist) quipped in to say they were from Brantford, England. They played a few songs including their newest one “Follow the Leader” which is not available on their EP. Ben told the room that ideally it will be out sometime in 2011, not wanting to give themselves too much of a time constraint. Their set was late on in the day and the bartender who was there since opening in the morning made sure to let everyone in radio land (and the band) know that they were by far the best act she had seen all day. And Kathryn swore for her first time ever on air telling the boys that they were “Fucking awesome”.

The next night luckily enough I got to catch them again at the Hard Luck Bar for a midnight set. They followed a not so good act that we were sure would clear the bar, but by the time everyone from The Ascot Royals hit the stage the bar packed house and everyone was right up at the stage. Their energy was through the roof as always. A bit trickier with a smaller stage and the sound tech having a bit of trouble which rendered it a bit difficult to hear Ben’s and Jesse’s harmonies for some of the songs unfortunately, but they still brought it.

The entire crowd was dancing and clapping around and of course as always Sam (drums) was into it with a big grin on his face. As I’ve mentioned before we call him Smilin’ Sam for a reason. With this set up normally it would be difficult to see the drummer because of the stage but with his talent and adorable demeanor you always make an effort to see what he’s doing behind the rest of the band.

When they got to their upbeat pop like song Sandy (beaches) Joey (guitarist) was immediately jumping up and down throughout the entire song. This song I think catches everyone a little off guard because it’s very different from the rest of their tunes. I always find they have a wide range of sound that’s hard to peg in the best of ways. From Jimmy’s immense energy that can go from soft melodic ballad singing to powerful sing song screaming. Joey’s amazing guitar skills which involve a little bit of metal like shredding from song to song always adds a nice flare. Ben’s keyboard skills which range from beautiful melody to some very synth heavy fun in “Follow the Leader” and “Zap Zap”. Sam providing a strong crazy background rhythm and Jesse with very soul/funk like groovy bass riffs that make you want to dance just like him.

Lastly they know how to command an audience better than almost any band I’ve ever seen. I can only compare it to the likeness of how Sweet Thing controls their crowd and they’ve played shows together in the past. After working up quite a sweat at one point Jimmy came off the stage with his tambourine and danced a bit pulling in an audience member to sing along side him as well as falling down to his knees singing while a girl ran up to play with his giant poofy hair. Hands down one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen, and they’re just as good everytime. If you want to catch them they are having a St. Patrick’s Day party at Two Doors Down in Brantford, ON and they will also be opening for MICHOU on April 2nd at Absinthe in Hamilton, ON.

Photos courtesy of Rachel Lee Tentcher. See full set from CMW here.


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