July 2, 2009

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‘We want to make rock fun again’
The Cold Goodnight seeks to deliver a high-energy show
By Katie Beth Ryan music@hippopress.com

Sean Joncas doesn’t mince words when it comes to describing the sound of The Cold Goodnight, the Dover-based band for which he is lead guitarist. The band cites distinct influences that form an unconventional family tree.

“When people ask what we sound like, I like to say that we sound like the Wilson sisters from Heart having Karen O [of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs] as a daughter and letting her date the guys from At The Drive-In,” he said. Which is to say that they’re attempting the delicate balance of fast-paced rock with overt punk influences. 

“Our whole thing is that we want to make rock fun again,” Joncas said, by delivering a high-energy show of original music and few covers. “There’s a lot of hints of pop and I think that kind of communicates across all genres. Everyone likes a good hook, and that’s what we shoot for in our songwriting.”

The Cold Goodnight has started to develop a name on the broader New England music scene, with two July shows in the Boston area, and will play two separate all-ages shows at Ground Zero in Allenstown on Thursday, July 9, and Saturday, Aug. 1. They have charismatic front lady Meri Cartmill on board and a new EP, Werewolves and Redlights, in tow. To boot, they’ve shot their first music video with director Oliver Wellington.

Not too shabby for a band that, to date, has played just 10 shows together. 

The four band members have only been playing together as The Cold Goodnight since last fall, but it was only a matter of time before their musical paths would collide. Cartmill and brother Matt Cartmill, TCG’s drummer, had talked about playing together for years. She’d begun writing songs with bassist (and fiancé) Damian Boyer, but hadn’t yet found the musical dynamic the duo was in search for. Moving to Dover to start her graduate studies in literature at UNH, Cartmill had to look no further than her older brother and longtime friend Joncas. To TCG she brings a feminine touch mixed with the attitude and energy needed to play with a bunch of guys.

“They’re all my best friends. But I like to consider myself one of the guys most often,” she says. “I think I’m girly, but I like to amp it up onstage and have fun and jump around, [and] get sweaty like the dudes.”

Around the Seacoast, the music scene is dominated by folk acts and jam bands; closer to Manchester, the band says that cover bands rule the roost. Their type of original rock is hard to come by in both locations, and the band has learned to rely on the Internet to build its fan base.

“Sometimes it’s hard to draw crowds if you’re a new, original band and people don’t necessarily know what you sound like or what they’re going to be seeing,” Boyer said. “That said, I think there’s still, especially from the New England area … a really good, young live music scene. And there’s definitely people out there that still want to go see new bands and stuff they haven’t heard before. The scene is very, very far from dead.”

The Cold Goodnight is also not taking younger listeners for granted, and have made a conscious effort to play a fair number of all-ages shows, including their upcoming dates at Ground Zero. While kids may not be inclined to buy CDs, the band still views them as an important component in their get-out-the-word efforts.

“Right now with everything that’s going on with money and the economy, it’s hard for people to go out and spend even $5 on an EP,” Meri Cartmill said. “Kids are still really into the music…. We think that’s really important, and that’s where a lot of enthusiasm still lies in new music.”

The Cold Goodnight will play at Ground Zero, 48 Allenstown Road in Allenstown, on Friday, July 17, and again on Saturday, Aug 1. Tickets for both shows cost $10 at the door. To hear tracks from The Cold Goodnight’s first EP, Werewolves and Redlights, head to www.myspace.com/thecoldgoodnight.


The Cold Goodnight
Where: Ground Zero, 48 Allenstown Road, Allenstown
When: Friday, July 17, and Saturday, Aug. 1
Tickets: $10 at the door