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Keeping up a Noble tradition

They sing with the R&B soul of Sam Cooke, but perform with the infectious, punk energy of The Clash.

The Noble Thiefs are the latest band out of Winnipeg, which is known for producing such successful groups such as The Watchmen, The Crash Test Dummies, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who.

Tim Jones, drummer for The Noble Thiefs — who play on Thursday at Red Deer’s Slumland Theatre — has a plausible theory about why his hometown is such a hotbed of musical talent.

“Did you see the news this morning? There’s a snowstorm going on in Winnipeg,” he said.

“When you have that much cold, you have no choice but to be creative. When you have to be indoors that much, you have to find something to occupy yourself.”

Jones, singer Myron Dean and guitarist Riley Hastings have been putting a new twist on old-style rock ’n’ roll for about three and a half years.

Bassist Ian Lodewyks was a more recent addition to the band, following the exit of a former group member.

Last spring, The Noble Thiefs released the debut album, Beyond the 11th Deck — referring to the last platform NASA astronauts tread on before entering the rocket ship that takes them into outer space.

Jones admitted his group was stepping into the unknown with the recording project that came early in the band’s inception, after an unexpected grant came through from the Manitoba government.

The resulting collection of songs swing wildly in theme — from Full Circle, which chronicles Jones’s unsatisfactory relationship with his now estranged father, to Drive-In, a breezy toe-tapper about attempts to keep Winnipeg’s last drive-in movie theatre open (it was closed a few years ago).

But the one constant is the band’s idiosyncratic approach to the music, which seems to go over just fine with fans — The Noble Thiefs were recently called one the most entertaining in Winnipeg by the CBC.

Jones believes doo-wop and punk can be a potent brew — especially for live performances.

“We’re these clean-cut guys with these ’50s and ’60s influences, but when we get on stage we’re performing more like a punk band.”

He recalled opening for a hardcore Australian metal group called Tourettes (like the syndrome).

“They had a pretty harsh audience and we’d never played for them before, but we went before them and they weren’t weirded out by us. We had this live energy and they just went with it.”

For more information about the concert at 4732 50th St., with the opening band Mise en Scene, call 403-307-3528.



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