North of Canada @ The Red & The Black 12/12 - Review

Repeated pleas to remove his shirt had little effect on the General.

Despite shouts from the crowd and encouragement from fellow band members, the drummer for
North of Canada resolutely remained clothed, avoiding shirtless shenanigans.

Instead, it was the music that was revealing. And the General, generally known as Mark Kuczynski, anchored the rhythm section throughout the band's recent performance at The Red and the Black in Washington, D.C.

The band, which splits its allegiance between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., played its first show since debuting a new bass player, Mike Lashinsky (the Admiral), in September.

Drawing on influences from American groups such as Johnny Headband and Ghost City along with British bands such as Supergrass and Blur, North of Canada invoked British singer-songwriter Graham Coxon with “life is hollow and benign,” a spin-off of a line from Coxon’s “Empty Word” during the raucous “Feel.”

Thanks to good sound balance in the small upstairs room of The Red and the Black, this and the band’s other lyrics came through loud and clear, rising above the sometimes intense dueling guitar effects created by the band’s two guitarists. Complementary vocals by Ryan Kobb (Brazenly Rye) and Rob Kuczynski (Robert France) further accentuated the steady rhythm kept by the General and bass lines carefully orchestrated by the Admiral.

Culminating with the borderline prog-rock length song, “Falling Down,” North of Canada kept the audience hanging to its eclectic melodies and inventive lyrics, even devising words like “octo-green.”

Even though the band, as in one of their songs, might “not know what's up in our sky,” they certainly keep fans looking upward to their next performance – even if the General didn't disrobe.


North of Canada will be releasing an EP, Every Sea Horse Could Be Different, in 2009. To hear the band and see photos and videos from their performances, visit