Now more than 20 years into an illustrious career that popularized them as one of the most recognizable acts in Canadian music, Our Lady Peace might just be at the very height of their game when they perform in Sylvan Lake this week.
The four-piece Toronto alt-rock outfit will take to the stage as headliners of the Summer Sensation Beach Music Festival on Friday night, in the midst of a time bassist Duncan Coutts described for the band as “a very nice place to be right now.”
“I don’t think we feel tired about anything — creatively, physically or any of that stuff,” he said, noting the past year has seen the band perform “some of the best shows we’ve ever put on.”
“We’re still striving to be better and different and to grow.”
The Summer Sensation’s format won’t be anything new for the band, who, along with having filled stadiums and arenas across Canada and beyond, have performed at plenty of festivals during their highly successful years together.
One such performance arrived in 1999 at the iconic Woodstock Festival in Rome, N.Y. — an event perhaps best remembered for its frightening scenes of violence and property destruction.
Our Lady Peace played before the chaos descended, and Coutts’s own memories of the event are much more peaceful — but no less unforgettable.
“To look out and see a couple hundred thousand people staring back at you, it’s an experience you don’t get to have every day,” he said.
Yet there are plenty of other perks about playing in a festival environment, Coutts feels. This weekend, for instance, he’s hoping to catch up with estranged acquaintances and take in some of the other bands’ performances.
“I used to play on the Toronto scene with one of the creative forces behind Dragonette many, many years ago, and I haven’t seen him in a long, long time, so it will be nice to say hello again, and I’ve never seen Stars play in all the years that we’ve been together, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Sylvan Lake fans on Friday could be treated to a first listen of some of the band’s newest material, with its members having been in and out of the studio on a regular basis of late.
The end product of the studio visits is currently unknown, but new music in some form will likely be released at some point this year, Coutts assures.
“We are just putting the finishing touches on recording one song, and we’ve got a bunch backed up waiting to be recorded,” he said. “Whether we end up just releasing a couple of songs every couple of months or whether we put out an EP or an album — we’re not sure how that plays out right now.”
Such decisions, he added, are a luxury afforded to them as an independent band.
“There’s a freedom that comes with that, so we’ll sort of figure out how to do it, and if it looks like we have enough songs for a full release, then we’ll do it.”
Meanwhile, the Summer Sensation is one of just several shows scheduled for the band this summer, allowing for what Coutts describes as a more “focused effort” on each.
It’s a much different scenario than the one the band became accustomed to in the late-’90s, when its members were “essentially on a tour bus for four years,” said Coutts.
“You would get off bleary-eyed and you would do another show, and there’s a wonderful train-like quality to that where the shows just get better and better and better, but (it’s nice) to have some time in between and actually get to enjoy the places that you’re in.”
Hedley, Matthew Good and Dear Rouge are among the other acts slated to perform at the Summer Sensation, which runs July 10 and 11 at Centennial Park.
Event and ticketing information is available at SummerSensationFest.com.