Double Experience @ The Free Times

Double Experience “Night of the Living Room” Tour

December 4, 2014
Free Times Café

 

A lot of people will end up regretting they weren’t at the Free Times Café on December 4. Double Experience, an Ottawa neo-nerd rock band played an intimate acoustic show for not nearly as big a crowd as they deserve. Typically a high-intensity progressive rock act, their performance on the 4th was more than likely a one-time-only opportunity to see an acoustic set from the two creative forces in Double Experience: Ian Nichols and Brock Tinsley. I sat with them for a conversation about their band, video games, and the hurdles of getting gigs in Toronto as an Ottawa-based outfit.

Double Experience will be the first to tell you that they can sometimes be tough to describe or classify. Part prog-rock band, part group of video-game enthusiasts, part well-kept indie secret, they focus more on writing great songs than they do on hammering down exactly which category they fit in to. The band does a fantastic job of making their weaknesses strengths, stating on their Facebook page “FACT: You have never heard of Double Experience”, and then going on to explain as to why you need to hear Double Experience. Doing things on their own, the way they want them to be done has made this group passionately independent, and extremely hardworking. Whether it be titling their album in Leet-speak, or performing in 6 different countries, these guys will do it their way, and they’ll do it well.

Their appearance in Toronto was part of their Night of the Living Room tour, which took them across Ontario for low-key acoustic shows to end the year on a softer note. What I really dug about the concept behind the tour (aside from the fact that the tour had a concept to begin with) was just how personal it was. For this tour, Tinsley and Nichols brought as many items from their living rooms as they could, (be it lamps, a couch, pictures of family pets, or their playstation) and brought it to the venue. Unfortunately space restrictions at the Free Times meant that they were unable to bring their living room with them to Toronto, but photos from other shows prove just how much more intimate it was with these ordinary items brought onto the stage. I found the whole idea of bringing the house to the show to be brilliant.

Right out of the gates, these guys impressed me. Opening with Edge of Night (a tune from The Lord of the Rings) was not only an interesting choice in opening song – they pulled it off too. From there it only got better, as Brock and Ian played raw acoustic manifestations of what were typically edgy and electric originals. Often heavier groups have problems with making the switch to acoustic performances, but I’d go so far as to say that Nichols and Tinsley could continue as an acoustic duo if they so desired! Ever a vision of modesty, Ian noted that some of the parts written for band performances sounded “like mashed potatoes” when played acoustic, but I’d argue with that. A good song is a good song, no matter the performance or venue, and Double Experience writes good songs. Have a listen to the lyrics for Here’s Y, and you’ll see what I mean.

From a living room tour, to releasing a series of trading cards in connection with their album release, Double Experience has taken the DIY spirit of the independent music scene and ran with it. You’d be hard-pressed to find another band out there that works as hard as they do, while still maintaining personable and friendly dispositions and a fiercely creative spark. They don’t play Toronto often, but I’m sure they’ll be back sooner or later and next time, they’ll be bringing the whole band. Folks may have missed them on December 4, but they’d be best to come out to the next time Double Experience comes around. This is an act that you’ll want to be able to say, “I was there.”

You can find their bio, music, store, and other fun stuff @ http://www.2xxp.com/

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