The Gibson Block steps out on its own with new album, Luminate

// Leroy Shulz
// Leroy Shulz

Former party cover band the Gibson Block is stepping out on its own, kind of like that metaphor about the cave by Plato—or was it Socrates?

Either way, drummer Denis Frigon explains, making the band’s first full-length album, Luminate, felt like one of those Greek allegories about a man coming out of the darkness of ignorance to understand the luminescence of enlightenment, so to speak. In addition to nods to the sun, light and positivity coming up as recurring themes in songwriting for the album, the Edmonton-based Gibson Block recently had to redefine itself as a three-piece after a fourth member moved to Calgary. Coming into its own as a group, Luminate symbolizes the idea that the band’s “finally feeling the sun on [our] faces,” Frigon says.

“I’m a big Socrates fan,” he exhales.

“That hemlock-drinking motherfucker,” says bassist Carson MacDonald. On the phone from the recording studio, the voices of Frigon, MacDonald and lead vocalist Sebastjohn King dissolve into breathy laughs. (For the record, the cave allegory comes from Plato, but the metaphor still stands).

Luminate, due out this spring, has given the Gibson Block the creative liberty to pen songs that mean more to the group than cover gigs did. The themes in the album will run the gamut of twenty-something stressors: a crappy economy, being nervous around girls, anxiety, depression, addiction and the insecurity of being what MacDonald calls a “kid-ult”—teenagers who haven’t grown up yet.

“When it comes to our own original stuff, [playing it] is infinitely more fulfilling,” MacDonald says, reflecting on how cool it felt to play a New Year’s Eve show in Golden, BC—in the middle of nowhere, it seemed—and have members of the audience know the words to the band’s own songs.

Besides Edmonton, Golden is the other city where the Gibson Block has a solid fan base. MacDonald attributes the band’s appeal in the two cities to “a blue-collar thing” they’ve got going on—a rock ‘n’ roll sensibility that doesn’t necessarily harp on the sad things.

“There can be depth to your music, and depth to your thoughts, but it is good-time music,” Frigon says. “It’s not supposed to be a drag. We’re not acoustic guys baring our souls. I mean, we are baring our souls through our music, but it’s channelled into this kind of energy where we’re trying to transcend, we’re trying to bring the energy of the room up.”

In the Gibson Block school of philosophy, that’s the appeal of a rock show—you can grab a beer, leave your problems at the door and come back for them when the night is over.

“You don’t need to necessarily dig deep to enjoy it,” MacDonald says.

“Rock ‘n’ roll’s just a big joke about fucking and drugs and I think, really, we’re all in on the joke,”  Frigon adds. “So the point is, we all get together and smile for a couple of hours and have a good time.” 

Fri, Jan 22 (8 pm)
With Joran Welbourne, Flowshine
Mercury Room, $10 in advance, $12 at the door

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