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SoHo Ghetto’s transformation 

From singer/songwriter to party band


f Halifax roots rockers SoHo Ghetto were an NBA franchise, they would be the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although they're an upcoming band that plays lyrically driven folk---as opposed to battling the Mavericks---they're run like a sports team, constantly changing and playing off each others' strengths and becoming one of the city's most exciting bands. Which makes lead singer and chief songwriter Marc-Antoine Robertson kind of like Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

Much like the SuperSonics moving to Oklahoma in 2008 and starting anew, the group began when Robertson found himself teaching in France with a lot of hours to kill playing the guitar. What came out was a plethora of songs in a singer-songwriter vein, but without a band to play them.

"It was just a project I needed to get off my chest and it just kind of happened by accident," says Robertson. "Whoever knew how to play joined the band."

Upon returning to Canada he recruited his friends and began to fill out the group with six other members to create a wall of sound not usually associated with Robertson's style of playing. But it wasn't until he saw his then-roommate Rich Aucoin blowing up with his Beach Boys-inspired dance music that he decided to change the band's style.

"Seeing him play I was just like, 'Man, I want to do this in my band, too. I don't want to be a sit-down-and-have-a-drink- at-a-bar band. I want people to party,'" he says. "Lyrically, it's what you would hear from a singer-songwriter, but musically, it's what you would hear at a party."

Robertson actively changed the group into a roots-based dance group and people began to take notice. But as the band continues to grow in popularity, Robertson isn't content to let his team relax and is constantly trying to work the strengths of his band so they play as powerfully as possible.

"Now it's more a challenge to refine the music and step back and let the character show through," he says. With the power forwards in SoHo Ghetto at his disposal, that shouldn't be too hard. Matthew Ritchie

SoHo Ghetto single release w/The Town Heroes, The Mark Inside, Friday, July 1, 10pm, The Seahorse Tavern, 1665 Argyle Street, $8 before midnight/$10 after

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