Vocalist and guitarist Janine Stoll of The DoneFors performs a song from the band’s album How to Have Sex with Canadians Saturday night at Dunnville’s Flyers Café. ⓒ Allison Smith 2010
As a freelance features/entertainment reporter for the Dunnville Chronicle, I get to cover some pretty weird, alternative Canadian bands who play Flyers Cafe, a popular downtown spot that's packed every Saturday night with people who are not at the arena and looking for a night out.
The DoneFors came to play Saturday night. I didn't know what to think of them at first - they aren't like anything I've heard before and judging by the reaction from their audience, unlike many of the groups out there today. They have created a genre called Canadiana VanGuard, essentially a mix of pop, folk and indie. You have to hear them to understand, but many of their songs make one want to see an obscure indie movie you could only pretend to follow. Or attend a Spring deck party with people in a Gap commercial. Or host a dinner party. I was iffy at the start of their set on what to think, or whether I liked them. But stick around and let this band grow on you, and you'll be rewarded.
The DoneFors vocalist and guitarist Paul MacDougall performs alongside band mates Saturday night at Dunnville’s Flyers Café. ⓒ Allison Smith 2010
It’s rare to find a band not chasing the next big hit.
But meet The DoneFors, the Toronto-based group who played Dunnville’s Flyers Café Saturday night, and you’ll find that for them, creating their own genre is a necessity, not a gimmick.
The band is comprised of 30-year-old Janine Stoll, 31-year-old Paul MacDougall (both on vocals and guitar), 30-year-old bassist and vocalist Liam Smith and 32-year-old drummer Brian Lahaie.
Listen to a couple of songs from these Canadian musicians and you’ll know why they had to create a name for the genre of music they play. Canadiana VanGuard is, states the band’s biography, an embodiment of contemporary pop and progressive folk sound – “a musical expression that spans genres, stretches boundaries, and stays rooted in an instrument’s organic sound.”
The emotions behind The DoneFors’ songs are as varied as the members themselves. Stoll said that though her fellow band members bring a variety of backgrounds to the group, “we all gelled” from the first day The DoneFors was formed. Everyone has a part to play.
“If any one of us were to leave and a new member were to join, we would be a completely different-sounding band.”
Smith agreed, adding the band aims to set itself apart from mainstream music. “As a rhythm section, we’re concerned with making sure our songs are different and don’t sound the same (as other groups’),” he said.
Lahaie wouldn’t have it any other way. “I think it’s natural to be different,” he said. “It’s never been a pursuit (for us) to be different.”
The DoneFors have made their peace with the fact that will likely not result in one of their songs becoming a major hit. But Stoll, MacDougall, Smith and Lahaie believe their success is already written in the stars – the band has the same astrological synastry as 1970s rock band Led Zeppelin.
A far cry from the over-produced, Disney-channel pop sensations and angry rocksters populating the airwaves, The DoneFors create music to dream to – light and airy melodies (In a Cornfield) and pieces that make one envision attending a Spring garden party when in reality they’re confined to a darkened café in the dead of rural Winter (Lemons from Argentina).
Your average bar band, this group is not. Saturday’s performance brought many a story-telling ballad and peppy, indie-flavoured songs. Stoll’s Septembre en France is a jazz-infused piece fit for a lovers’ dance, while The Last Thing You Do should soothe many a heart mourning unrequited love.The group played its first show as an ensemble in Fall of 2006 and played the Junction Arts Festival in Toronto the same year. Their first full-length album How to Have Sex with Canadians was released in early 2009. A second is in the works. Visit the band’s website at www.thedonefors.com.
Find this article at The Chronicle