Music

The Red Cannons have literary firepower

Edgar Allan Poe bros
Edgar Allan Poe bros

Have you ever been to a show and the band shot a cannon at you? Alright, sure, AC/DC—but did those guys fire bottles of beer into the crowd and sprinkle in literary references?

Then you’d best witness the Red Cannons, a band that does its best to live up to the firepower in its name.

“Shooting T-shirts, beer or whatever out of the cannon: it’s our signature thing,” says Jen Perry, who sings and plays bass in the band.

Spruce Grove native Perry plays alongside three Boechler brothers from Stony Plain: Evan on rhythm guitar, Braden on lead guitar and Landon on drums. She grew up with the boys and used to play with Evan in the now-defunct band the Shakedowns. After that band split, she and Evan enlisted his brothers to form the Red Cannons.

The group’s 2013 single “Underneath the Floorboards,” inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart and smacks heartily of Queens of the Stone Age’s “Burn the Witch,” had serious legs. That year, it was one of the most requested songs on Edmonton rock radio and achieved the Hoser Holy Grail when it was featured on Hockey Night in Canada.

Maybe there are a few local bands who can put those honours in their trophy case. Maybe. But few can say they helped soundtrack the athletes of the Lingerie Fighting Championships, a new league of MMA ladies who, for some reason, fight in their
underpants.

“That one was kind of random,” Perry laughs. “But its a great way to get the music out.”

Hey, exposure is exposure. Being from the small(ish) locales of Stony Plain and Spruce Grove, the Red Cannons don’t shy away from playing overlooked communities. Last summer, the band riffed through Grande Prairie, Whitecourt and Edson before touring through the BC Interior.

“[Small towns] appreciate when live music comes through,” Perry says. “And they treat bands really well. But we love to do the bigger cities as well.”

Literary references aren’t often found alongside pyrotechnics, but Perry says the group doesn’t try to hide the fact its members are well-read. Indeed, the Red Cannons’ follow-up single “Sheepdog” tackles the battle between good and evil between three different personality types—heady stuff for blues rock.

“We’re all readers,” Perry says. “It’s interesting when fans can pick up these stories in our songs. And there’s that folk-country influence in our lyrics, that balladry.”

As for the future, Perry says the band plans to keep reading, writing and rocking—and its looking to upgrade the on-stage artillery.

“We’re hoping to get a bigger and better cannon to make the shows even more exciting,” Perry adds.

Sat, Jan 10 (8 pm)
With Thompson Highway, Ten Minute Detour, the Fronts, Needles to Vinyl
Mercury Room, $15

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