FAIRBANKS – The Sick Puppies, coming to The Blue Loon on Jan. 23 have rocked Fairbanks before, most recently about this time last year. The band was originally scheduled to perform Saturday but the band has had trouble acquiring U.S. visas and have postponed their concert for two weeks.
While the band remains guitarist and vocalist Shimon Moore, bassist Emma Anzai and drummer Mark Goodwin, this isn’t the same band, musically speaking.
Now that the band has played hundreds of shows and released three albums, Moore said the band now claims a sound distinctly its own. Early in the Australian band’s tenure its original influences — Silverchair, Rage Against the Machine and Green Day — stood out. No longer.
“We all got better as musicians and a band, you can’t help but define yourself. Every band sounds like it’s influences in the beginning,” he said. “After a long enough time together you find your own voice as a band. Your influences come together and the sound becomes more than the influences.”
The Sick Puppies have also added a harder, more focused edge to its already powerful modern rock sound. Touring behind a new album, “Tri-Polar,” the band is constantly refining and pushing that edge, Moore explained.
“(We’ve) gotten more focused and more heavy. We’ve played a lot of live shows and figured out what’s worked with the fans, and that’s a heavier sound with big fat riffs and big choruses. Everyone likes that; we like that. And we’ve actually learned how to do that better after all the touring for a couple years. We went with what works and cut what didn’t and it’s one of the main influences of the (current) sound,” he said.
Moore added that what’s been cut from the band’s repertoire, at least live, are potentially slower moments, the power ballads and mellower interludes. Even on “Tri-Polar” the power ballads pack a harder sonic scope beyond the classic power ballad formula.
“We don’t do (songs) where the audience could get bored and head for the exit,” he said. “Our shows are effectively an ad campaign for the band. Here we are, get to know us. You don’t want them to get bored.”
To hear Moore tell it, getting bored is unlikely. At small venues like The Blue Loon, concerts turn into the “sweaty rock shows” he prefers. “When people come to our show it’s pretty much heavy guitars and big rock songs. We play balls to the wall and get off the stage.”
“Tri-Polar” has proved something of a sales success for the band, though not the breakthrough the label was perhaps hoping for. Still, the lead single, “You’re Going Down,” was picked up by the WWE as the theme song for an Extreme Rules pay-per-veiw broadcast, and Moore said that exposed the band to a wider audience.
“The beautiful thing is that song works perfectly with the WWE,” he said. “It’s a song with heavy imagery about fighting so it works there. It’s drawn so many people to us who have discovered the other songs and emotional depths of the band. All because of that song.”
Hailing from Australia, though now living in Los Angeles, Moore said coming up from down under and finding success was no harder for Sick Puppies than any band anywhere. Yes, being Austrailan does add a somewhat exotic charm, but in the end it all comes down to the music.
“I think it’s equally hard for any band starting out, and equally as easy if you have a good idea. It’s always a hard slog whether you’re Australian or Swedish,” he said. “If you’re a good band with good songs you’re going to breakthrough. No one really cares if you’re from Australia or not. It’s the music.”
All tickets purchased for the Jan. 9 concert will be honored at the door on Jan. 23.
Contact features editor Glenn BurnSilver at 459-7510.