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Fond of Tigers 

Back from hibernation after their 2011 Juno Award win, the west coast septet continue their avant-rock sonic assault

click to enlarge Fond of Tigers is fond of the avant-garde. - JESSICA EATON
  • Fond of Tigers is fond of the avant-garde.
  • Jessica Eaton

"We sit in this middle ground where really hardcore avant-garde people probably think we're The Backstreet Boys," says Stephen Lyons, founder and frontman of Fond of Tigers, "while people who love pop probably think we're a sonic assault squad sent to torture them."

The Vancouver septet returns to the east coast for their first show together since last summer's Sappyfest in Sackville, NB. Since 2003, the avant-rock noise instrumental experience has released three well-praised albums. The latest, Continent & Western, won a 2011 Juno for Instrumental Album of the Year, after which the band retreated into the wilds for some downtime.

"The Juno Awards were surreal, definitely surreal, all these people walking around with little drinks on trays," Lyons remembers. "But you win a Juno, play a few shows, then you go into total hibernation, so we're really excited to be together again."

For the Halifax Jazz Festival, Fond of Tigers will play some old and new tunes that Lyons has been working on this year as a bit of a departure from earlier albums.

"I've been challenging myself to do things completely different," he says, adding that the next album will be "sonically thematic," where earlier albums have been a little less consistent.

As for the somewhat abstract, fusion-jazz, post-rock nature of the band, Lyons says, "I never write for the purpose of being obtuse or obscure. When I've tried to write things that are conceptually avant-garde, I never enjoyed it as much as what I write that just feels good and that I have a visceral reaction to as a player." But Fond of Tigers is still too untamed to be domestic.

"With a big band, we can have co-occurring music, rather than accompaniment. My ears get tired of accompaniment. I like having sounds that are related but not in a simplistic way." --Adria Young

Fond of Tigers w/Steve Reich’s 2x5, Friday, July 6 at St. Matthew’s United Church, 7pm, $18/$15


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