Montreal's Mobile is the latest international band to test the theory that America is the land of opportunity. After a couple years of huge success in their native land, the band's members have been bringing their talent south of the border.
"Canada is great; it's our country, that's where we're from," singer Mat Joly said in a recent interview. "But it's small compared to here. Every band wants to make it in America."
The band consists of Joly, guitarists Christian "Criq" Brais and Frank Williamson, bassist Dominic Viola and drummer Pierre-Marc Hamelin. They may speak French as their first language, but to this band, English is the only option.
"In my mind, it's always been clear that if I was to have an international career in music, it was going to have to be in English," Joly said. "I believe that the language of rock 'n' roll is the English language."
Some of Mobile's members have been together since they were 5 years old. They may have started off as playmates, but now they have grown into a team of hard-working professional musicians. After performing for years together, they decided they had to make a move to Toronto, and the five of them crammed into a small, two-bedroom apartment north of the city.
"Just being five guys, going out every night and meeting record executives, meeting other bands, creating something -- we wanted to show people that we could make it as a band," Joly said. The band put out its debut album, "Tomorrow Starts Today," in Canada in April 2006. The album is slated to be released in the United States on Aug. 21; it was meant to be released sooner, but the band had troubles with its label, Interscope. Since then, the group has switched to a smaller label, the Militia Group. The album showcases the group's unique blend of '80s dance rock with a futuristic alternative rock.
Mobile compacts explosive guitar riffs with Joly's epic vocals with each song. The beat is static. Singles "Out of My Head" and "Montreal Calling" highlight adrenaline-pushing rock while "Dusting Down the Stars" and "Bleeding Words" are more acoustic, yet fulfilling.
Their music has put them all over Canadian radio airwaves, in television shows such as "One Tree Hill," videogames and even an independent film. And selling well over 50,000 records earned them a Juno (the Canadian version of the Grammys) for best new group of the year.
Mobile played Thursday at the Square three weeks ago, opening for the Violent Femmes. It was the band's first real U.S. gig.
"It was really cool, playing in front of a big audience like that," Joly said. "The response was pretty good. We felt great up there. We'll always have in mind that Buffalo was the first [U.S.] city we ever played in."
WHO: Mobile, with Lovedrug and Queen City Station
WHEN: 7 tonight
WHERE: The Buffalo Icon, 391 Ellicott St.
INFO: 842-0167 or www.thebuffaloicon.com