In Mannequin’s head | Music | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

In Mannequin’s head

Loved for his sweaty stage performances, a wiser Wax Mannequin has discovered a quiet approach works too.

According to one bio, "Wax Mannequin is the fighter...He is music of the biggest fight style." Or at least he used to be. Like the title of his latest release, Saxon, suggests, Wax is now a veteran reflecting on battles past. And certainly Hamilton-bred Chris Adeney, the man behind Wax, is a veteran of the Canadian music scene. With five albums and six years of touring, Adeney admits he's wiser and more mature.

"It took the first four [records] to figure out what I could do and make some mistakes along the way. I think this is kind of the summation of what I've been trying to say all along," says Adeney.

There are still a number of rockers on Saxon, with his band Black Blood providing a fuller sound. But the more melodic introspective tracks have Adeney feeling "at home" in his music.

"I still talk about fights and ridiculous things but I'm not fighting with myself or the crowd," he says. "I'm not out to alienate anyone anymore. I used to get a kick out of those tense moments. Now I just enjoy a good song."

Adeney realizes a quiet approach can communicate his ideas too. Having a backing band is also less burdensome. Yet, spectacle remains central to Wax Mannequin. "I'm out to say there can be a real artistry to [showmanship], and you can make something loud and engaging without losing legitimacy."

The thematic extravagancy of Wax Mannequin continues to fire on all cylinders. Adeney even finds changing style reinforces the consistency within Wax Mannequin's lexicon.

"Substance and melody are king. Style is fun and funny, but ultimately something you toy with and toss away," he says. "A lot of bands that I come across get pretty hung up on style, and are ultimately thrown away, which is sad."

At heart, Adeney's infamous live performances---featuring buckets of sweat, ripping roses from his chest and cuticle-cutting guitar thrashing---are about communication. With abstract lyrics about messages to the queen and jumping animals, emotional performance was his way of translating his thoughts.

"Doing that has been very taxing but I think I've found a place where I'm confident and comfortable at all times on stage, and can just have fun with it with these talented guys."

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