by Yasmine Shemesh
The riotous Vancouver-based blues-rock band are to play their first headlining hometown show since the release of their debut album.
Some of the sweetest things in life can also be a little sour. Travelling the world and performing for hundreds of fans every night may seem like it’s something out of a fantasy, but in reality, living out of a suitcase is really not all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it’s actually pretty damn hard. “It’s funny, a lot of people say I’m living the dream, but it’s really kind of a nightmare having to run around and be in the most beautiful place in the world and having to leave right away,” says Colleen Rennison, lead singer of blues-rock band No Sinner. “It’s a little bit heartbreaking.”
On the road for the better part of this year, the group has played all over the world, from New York to Norway, in support of their debut full-length, Boo Hoo Hoo. The album’s smashing success (which broke into the Amazon UK Top 10, was featured in Vice/Noisey, American Songwriter, and Exclaim!, and garnered a nomination for Best New Band by Classic Rock Magazine) has taken the rockers on a whirlwind of venues and airports, but despite the wham-bam-thank you-‘mam nature of touring, there are still special little moments that allows one to slow down and smell the roses. A less than 24 hour stop in Paris, in particular, didn’t take long to capture Rennison’s heart — even though she got her cell phone stolen. “It was still my favourite show,” she says. “We were playing right by the Moulin Rouge. I just love that city.”
Rennison’s appreciation for a classic kind of beauty comes to fruition in regards to No Sinner. The combination of the singer’s smokey, Joplin voice alongside then-guitarist Eric Campbell’s wailing, swampy riffs and the jazzy percussion of drummer Ian Browne is pure rock and roll at its finest, while paying respects to the simple, expressive grit of the blues. “I think it’s really beautiful and powerful and honest,” she says, of the genre. “It’s deep and emotional.” Drawn to its soulfulness as a child, Rennison connected to the rootsiness of the blues instantly, through artists like Nina Simone. “It has always been the way that I communicated musically,” she explains. “That was sort of the language that I spoke. And I don’t know if that’s because I gravitated to it when I was young or if that was just the music in my heart and that’s why I found my way towards it.” Is Rennison an old soul herself? “Maybe,” she laughs. “I’m also one of the most immature, irresponsible people I’ve ever met so there’s a little bit of both in there.”
On November 21, No Sinner will perform at the Rickshaw Theatre for their first headlining hometown show since the June release of Boo Hoo Hoo. The band is set to debut a handful of new material, along with the addition of a new guitarist, Rich Hope. “I’m really excited,” Rennison says. “We’ve got three new songs that nobody has ever heard before, so that will be great. I’m looking forward to playing them.”
The sweetest part, though? To be back home, “just playing for our friends again.”
No Sinner plays with guests La Chinga and Spoon River at the Rickshaw Theatre on November 21, 2014. Tickets are available online.
Published online at www.vancitybuzz.com, November 2014