By Tony Rubio
Different bands have differing opinions on what their defining factor is. For some, it’s the technicality they bring, which can usually only be heard clearly in recordings. For others, it’s a cohesiveness. A feeling that the song only sounds right when everyone is playing their individual parts; the symphony effect. And for some, such as Scarlet Canary, their defining moments come on stage. In the heat of the stage lights, and the sweat of the crowd. Those indescribable moments when you and the people watching are connected in one breathtaking moment in time.
Hailing from Denver, Scarlet Canary is: Hannah Maddox (vocals), Allen Maddox (guitar), Marcos Gonzales (bass) and Marcus McGowan aka Roll Tide (drums). With their most recent release, ‘Arise’, they establish themselves as heavy hitters in the regional scene. Formed in 2010, their rise in the scene has everything to do with their ability to reach a multitude of music lovers, both regionally and nationally. An adaptive sound that appeals to seemingly every ear, Scarlet Canary truly brings something for everyone to the table.
In a male-dominated industry, it’s very apparent the hardships and struggles females face when wanting to make a name for themselves. There are some advantages as well. When you have a female-fronted band, there are many different avenues to take in establishing a sound for yourself. “You can be more pop-influenced, you can be more indie-influenced. You can scream all the time”, Scarlet Canary front woman Hannah Maddox describes, “The sky’s the limit.” An assortment of different backgrounds and influences gives Scarlet Canary their signature sound. Hannah has a background in Jazz and Blues whereas Allen, Marcos and Marcus pull their influences everywhere from Classic Rock to Metalcore to Pop Punk. Such an array of genres holds a steady influence in their songs, and shows through in many different ways throughout their song catalog.
Their music, which can be found all over, is well-written and teeming with emotion. It is their live show, though, that is where this band truly shines. When asked about what makes Scarlet Canary stand out above the rest, Hannah’s answer is simple: the live show. To the band, their live performance is what takes them over the top and puts them on the map. From the laundry list of great bands they have performed with, the general consensus seems to be admiration for the power of their sets. Hannah believes their energy transfers to the crowd they are performing for, and after seeing their set it’s hard to disagree with the sentiment.
Hannah has a presence about her that is undeniable. From the moment the first note rings out, you can tell she is all in. Her energy is palpable. She invites everyone to come to the front of the stage, and immediately jumps down on the floor to jam with them. She is all over the stage, no matter the size. It’s an energy that’s infectious, almost entrancing. For sure, it’s exciting. You want to be involved just as badly as she wants you to be. Hannah’s vocals will lure you in with infectious melodies and impressive range before the band transitions into a heavy, low breakdown accompanied by a driving scream. The result is a ferocity that many only hope to capture in a live performance. Though not quite your typical ‘heavy metal’ band, make no mistake; this is no pop rock band. Many of their verses and harmonies are extremely catchy, which almost brings you to a false sense of security right before they lay you out with a punishing range of brutal tones and heavy breakdowns. Hannah’s playful nature on stage further fuels the dualism their stage performance creates. Whether she’s running in place to their cover of “I Ran” by Flock of Seagulls or screaming for you to get ready for the next heavy break, rest assured Hannah and Scarlet Canary will have you moving with them. “Some people didn’t want us to do choreographed breakdowns, or do the running-in-place because it’s silly, or whatever”, she elaborates after the show, “but it’s not like we don’t know that already!” In their mind, if the antics get the crowd moving and/or feeling more comfortable, then it’s a job well done. As the crowd chants “Shots!” back at Hannah during ‘Death of Rock and Roll’, the look on her face says it all: It has indeed been a job well done.
During the set, both Marcos and Allen have shining moments where the spotlight is on them. Allen goes to the floor with the crowd and amps them up as he unleashes a solo that has everyone cheering. Marcos takes a bass solo during another song and absolutely kills it. This is an extremely tight unit and the chemistry between the band members is apparent in every note they play. The importance of a band’s chemistry really shows here. Every transition is led into wonderfully, both through the music, and the members. They definitely let you know things are about to get heavy, and you’d better be prepared. The results are undeniable. As the openers to a show, every band knows you have to work that much harder to get the crowd involved. As they start the show, there is a respectable group of onlookers mulling around the stage. By the time they start their third song, the floor is almost full. By the end of their show, the floor is full. Everybody wanting to take part in the energy Scarlet Canary has brought home to Denver.
This wasn’t always the case, though. Hannah says she had to grow into the performer she is today. Starting out, she was much more subdued. Complete with a microphone stand, her performance was much more stationary and restrained. After becoming more accustomed to life on the stage, she recalls seeing other front (wo)men letting loose on stage and thinking “I should be doing that”. Knowing how important the live show is for bands, she began inheriting more of the reckless abandon she performs with now, and getting more involved with the crowd. Crowd interaction is a huge component of what Hannah considers a successful show. “It’s crazy, you don’t realize how much you can touch and affect people’s lives just by standing up there”, she says. As a fan, you can listen to a band’s recordings in your home, car, office, etc. whenever you please. When you come to see a band live, you come to see them perform. You come for the energy, and the feeling that only a live show can create. Hannah and the rest of Scarlet Canary have a complete grasp of what this means, and give every show their all for the fans (or “Flockers” as they’re colloquially called).
When not on the stage, you can find Hannah glued to the merch booth. She’s promoting their shirts and CDs, she’s connecting with fans, and she’s graciously receiving well-deserved compliments from casual listeners and Flockers alike. From the moment they exit the stage, the band is constantly surrounded by admirers of the show they put on. Hannah engages every single fan. Every girl empowered by her tremendous presence on the stage, every teenager inspired by their sound. She has time for every one. There is no end to the grind, and that breeds success. They’ve shared the stage with acts such as Saliva, Smile Empty Soul, Stitched Up Heart, and tonight it’s the Butcher Babies. Seasoned on the road, they’ve headlined tours and supported massive acts. They are currently embarking on The Girls Go Grrr Tour 2016, which makes stops in Houston, Nashville and Albuquerque along with plenty of stops in the home state of Colorful Colorado. You can find more information on Scarlet Canary on most social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They have a website inwww.scarletcanaryband.com. Their music can be found “wherever there is music”, laughs Hannah. Spotify, Amazon, Itunes, Pandora, Reverbnation and Bandcamp just to name a few. They have music videos and live performances on YouTube, along with an interview from Resident Rockstar’s own Amy Hutch
eson, which you should definitely check out. The sky is, indeed, the limit for these birds. Caged no longer.