You Nearly Missed: The Fugitives at St. James Community Square

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      Realistically, given all that’s going on in the world, there’s no shortage of reasons to be pushing the panic button. And at first that’s exactly what The Fugitives seem to be doing on their new album No Help Coming—the title alone of which isn’t going to win any awards for most uplifting statement of 2023. As for the songs, the rundown includes “It Just Might Rain Like This for Days”, “(After You’re Gone)”, and—most ominously of all—“(Impending Doom)”.

      Time to crawl into bed with a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 Year Old and pull the covers over your head, right? Well, not exactly. Sometimes you’ve got to take a closer listen. 

      The Fugitives singer-guitarist Brendan McLeod has this to say to us about the long-running band’s fifth full-length: 

      “Our new album is about the climate emergency. But it’s not a downer. In fact, it’s purposefully uplifting. When we asked environmental experts how music can help the cause they said: no more doom and gloom. Pessimism distances us from action. What we need to do is look squarely at the problem and not give in to despair. This was a difficult mood to capture in an album.”

      Difficult maybe, but obviously not insurmountably so.

      To illustrate that, all you have to do is cue up “Edge of the Sea”, which starts out plaintive and downbeat enough with the lyrics “I know its desperate, but I had to try,” and then, a minute in, shifts into something uplifting and beautiful, starting with honey-glazed harmonies.

      Fans of the long-running Vancouver folk alchemists might very well wonder what the group—which includes banjo player Chris Suen, violinist Carly Frey, and singer bassist Adrian Glynn—has been up to over the past few years. Besides, that is, touring the world (including appearances at Glastonbury and support slots for Buffy Sainte-Marie), piling up six Canadian Folk Music Association nominations, and creating the First World War-centred theatre show RIDGE.

      “Thanks to terrible scheduling (by us),” McLeod says, “we have yet to play a hometown show since the pandemic. A lot has happened since then. We’ve been nominated for a JUNO. Toured twice to Europe, and released two albums. We can’t wait to share all that with our hometown.”

      That sharing starts tomorrow with a return-to-action show, which also doubles as the record release party for No Help Coming.

      Yes, there’s so much going on in the world that sometimes it’s easy to give up hope. But if The Fugitives have a much-needed message on No Help Coming it’s that, sometimes when things are at their darkest, that’s exactly when you need to look into the light.

      The Fugitives

      Where: St. James Community Square

      When: Friday (October 20)

      Tickets: $25, available here