Monday, November 27, 2006

¡Forward, Russia! vs. America

Having already wowed American audiences at this year's CMJ Music Marathon, and fresh off the MTV2 Europe tour with Aussie garage rock ruffians Wolfmother, ¡Forward, Russia! returns to American shores for second round of dates in support of their debut album, Give Me a Wall. The tour launches tonight in Boston.

Decked with a pair of exclamation points and the shirts to prove it, Tom Woodhead (vocals, synth), Rob Canning (bass), Katie Nicholls (drums) and Whiskas (guitar) hail from the bustling English metropolis of Leeds, the same town that brought us the Gang of Four, Sisters of Mercy, and the Wedding Present. Give Me a Wall packs a shouty punk punch that's suitable for dancing (pogoing, slamming, moshing, whatever). Obviously ¡Forward, Russia! is doing something right: both the frenzied passion of "Nine" and the aching guitar riffs of "Twelve" landed in the UK Top 40 earlier this year, and their manic ecstatic fourth single, "Eighteen" debuted at #1 on the UK indie charts in August. With such stardom brewing overseas, ¡Forward, Russia! frontman Tom Woodhead says new fans should brace themselves for quite a show, for performing live is really the band's forte. "People should just expect something with a massive amount of energy. We try and give absolutely everything every night. While that can be hard, you're short-changing the people who've come to see you if you give anything else."

And the story behind the shirts? "It just gives the band a bit more of an identity," says Woodhead. "We are a bit of a motley bunch, and having that unifying symbol brings us together visually. Within the context of the name the exclamation marks give the impression that the words are enclosed in a shout: it's a strong, commanding name."

¡Forward, Russia! keeps a heathly dose of power ballad compilations around while on the road (Woodhead says they are always a must!), but the band has also been enjoying the Mastodon album. "Sometimes we just end up listening to each other's music as there is always a communal stereo in the bus."

Woodhead also battled a throat infection earlier this fall, forcing ¡Forward, Russia! to cancel a few West Coast dates in late October. "To be honest, it was less a break in touring and more an extra day off in the middle of a massive, never-ending tour," Woodhead explains. "When you tour as much as we have you're bound to have vocal problems once in a while. I've never had them quite that severe though. I think it was something to do with all the flying we had been doing. Ridiculous rules regarding taking liquids onto planes don't exactly help."

¡Forward, Russia! vs. crazy America: Woodhead says they nearly got assaulted by a Polish bum in New York. "He accused us of being Russian bastards who belong in the garbage!"

Catch ¡Forward, Russia! this winter with Atlanta's brooding balladeers, Snowden.

27 Boston MA @ Great Scott
28 New York NY @ the Bowery Ballroom (plus Meneguar)
29 Philadelphia PA @ Johnny Brenda's
30 Montreal QE @ the Mile End Cultural Centre

01 Toronto ON @ the Horseshoe Tavern
02 Detroit MI @ the Magic Stick
04 Cleveland OH @ the Grog Shop
05 Chicago IL @ the Empty Bottle
06 Minneapolis MN @ Triple Rock
08 Kansas City MO @ The Record Bar
09 Oklahoma City OK @ the Conservatory
10 Dallas TX @ the Gypsy Ballroom
11 Austin TX @ Stubbs
12 Houston TX @ Walters
14 Atlanta GA @ the Earl
15 Chapel Hill NC @ The Local 506
16 Washington DC @ the Black Cat

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