Delve into the history of thieves and you’ll find pain that can only be healed by the taking. It’s an affliction that Halifax-based band Shelter With Thieves knows all too well. With their alt-rock and hardcore arena-sized sound and showmanship, the band continues its crime spree across the land, stealing the hearts of rock fans the world over.
Shelter With Thieves (SWT) is made up of twin brothers Mike and Matt Johnson on lead guitar and drums respectively, Squid Mullet on bass and Lloyd Smith on guitar. As lead vocalist, Mike Johnson is unafraid to layer sweet melodies over the roar of distortion, but equally at home screaming dark, politically-charged lyrics. This is songwriting stripped of trend-seeking sap, instead building upon the bones of die-hard rock.
The band has drawn a rabid following from its members’ previous days in Shyne Factory and Bucket Truck. Now mature and refined for the discerning listener, SWT is winning over new punks and old hardcore fans alike.
The live show is fearsome. It’s a war of attrition between the foursome – a mud-slinging, beer-spitting game of one-upmanship. Extended versions of songs and spontaneous classic Nine Inch Nails covers provide guaranteed sweaty satisfaction.
But while these musical beasts have built a reputation for relentless aggression on stage, in person they are sunny, friendly guys who are loyal to their fans and serious about hitting the road to perform. They’ve toured through their native Canada and the U.S., sharing the stage with bands like Treble Charger, The Trews, Sum 41, Slayer, The Black Halos, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Our Lady Peace, Gob and Finger Eleven, to name a few.
Their peers have awarded them with a nomination in the 2009 ECMA Loud category and two Music Nova Scotia awards. Their glossy, Project Mayhem-inspired video for “Nursery Crimes” recently landed in regular rotation on Much Music.
For their upcoming release, SWT joined forces with Sum 41’s bassist Cone McCaslin who lent his ears to produce some killer tracks. The final polished mix was provided by Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Dead and Divine).
The resulting EP hones protest energy and sputtering pace to evoke a heart-thumping, car-wrecking musical emergency. Look for SWT on tour near you…