Bringing the fire to your pants

Calgary’s music scene has always displayed a great deal of variety. Everything from loud heavy metal and rock’n’roll, to angsty emo and hardcore, the ever popular punkrock scene to bouncy britpop has graced Calgary stages. These varied styles will always have their fans, but it seems that good pop-rock has a universal following.

Although thrown into many different categories, the locally created Porterhall seems to please every audience they play for. The band consists of Todd Harkness (guitar/vocals), Ross Andersen (drums), Monroe McKenzie (bass) and newcomer Darren Preston (lead vocals/guitar).

The line-up change occurred in August, when singer Jeff Caissie decided to leave the band, undertaking new endeavors in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He was replaced fairly quickly by Preston, formerly of Rebel Young Republican. Caissie’s sudden departure was a change the band hadn’t expected so soon.

"It was always in the back of our mind, we thought that it might happen," said Harkness.

Porterhall–together for over a year–has shared the stage with the likes of the Weakerthans, Nine Miles to Morgan, Vancouver’s dbs and the Salteens. Although they have yet to play a show with the new lineup, rumours are already circulating about their new style of music, some even labeling it as "crust punk." These frequent claims amuse Porterhall, who insist nothing dramatic has occurred.

Despite this claim, Porterhall is frequently placed under the emo (emotional hardcore) category along with local outfits Hot Little Rocket and Nine Miles to Morgan.

"We were never emo, we’re just a rock band," argues Harkness.

McKenzie concurs, "We’re good at what we do, at our type of sound, and if people like that type of thing, then we’re a good band to see."

Regardless, in the past, it was difficult to ignore the band’s explosive yet intricate guitars, intense drum beats and post-hardcore vocals, all of which reflect an emo quality.

Porterhall compare their music to bands like Jawbreaker, the Get Up Kids, Samiam and Knapsack.

"If you never got to see Knapsack, come see Porterhall," states Andersen.

It is difficult to predict the new sound Porterhall will have with Preston’s contribution, but the biggest change will be lyrically, with Preston now undertaking the task of song writing.

"They definitely have meaning, perhaps more to myself than others," states Preston of his lyrics.

Porterhall has also decided not to play any of the songs they produced with Caissie. These will appear on a CD on Endearing Records, hitting stores in January.

Porterhall shows tremendous potential and can be seen live Nov. 19 with Bionic XI and Byathread at Sloth Records.

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