Niagara Gazette

April 11, 2013

Tour Odyssey -- featuring The Big Heads and Shiny Toy Guns -- stops by the Rapids Theatre

By Thom Jennings
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — It’s shaping up to be a great weekend of music in the area, with selections that for just about every musical taste.

Over the border in Canada, country artists Mont-gomery Gentry begin a two-night stand at the Niagara Fallsview Casino. Vocalists Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry have been performing together since 1999, and have garnered numerous country awards and nominations, and are best known for southern rock tinged hits like “Lucky Man” and “If You Ever Stop Loving Me.”

On this side of the border, Godsmack’s Sully Erna is headlining a show at the Seneca Niagara Casino’s intimate venue, the Bear’s Den on Saturday. On Sunday, Celtic rockers Great Big Sea will be at the UB Center for the Arts.

This weekend’s best bet is Friday’s show at The Rapid’s Theatre, billed as The Tour Odyssey featuring The Dirty Heads and Shiny Toy Guns with Midi Matilda, and Oh No Fiasco. The tour began in Dallas in February, and ends later this month in Baton Rouge, La.

The Dirty Heads blend reggae, alternative, ska and hip-hop to create a unique sound. Their music is danceable and their grooves are infectious. When I heard their name, I thought they were some hardcore punk band, but I was pleasantly surprised how accessible their material is. My son Trevor is somewhat of a reggae aficionado, and he recommended these guys.

They have toured with bands like O.A.R and Sublime with Rome, which should give you a sense of what type of music they play. To date they have two albums, “Any Port in a Storm” released in 2008 and “Cabin by the Sea,” which came out last year. Their biggest hit to date is “Lay Me Down,” which spent eleven weeks at #1 on the alternative rock chart.

Shiny Toy Guns is a Los Angeles based synth-pop band. I have to admit I was surprised how much I loved this band, but perhaps it’s the fact that they remind me of some of the great synth bands of the ’80s like Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Human League and one of my all-time favorite bands, Missing Persons.

Lead singer Carah Faye Charnow has a great voice, which is sometimes reminiscent of Ellie Goulding. Her vocals are expressive and powerful, and she has so many dimensions that it’s a musical joyride listening to her.

Even though Shiny Toy Guns sound includes a heavy dose of synthesizers, there is no shortage of hard driving guitar and powerful drums and bass. I really am looking forward to seeing these guys play.

I couldn’t find a lot of information on Midi Matilda, but they have a decent amount of music on YouTube, and based on the comments, they are holding their won on the Odyssey Tour. My favorite song is “Love & the Movies.” It’s a great synth pop number.

Getting the night started is Oh No Fiasco, a female fronted alternative rock band from Knoxville Tennessee. Like the other three bands on the bill, they have some great material including a song called “Stand in Lover” that you can find on YouTube.