Monday, March 3, 2003

Peace, Love and Aliens by Joyanne Pursaga

For Antigravity, a local Winnipeg band with a global social conscience, the most important part of music is the message that it purveys. Brad Fenwick (bass/lead vocals); Basil Ganglia (guitar/vocals); Peter Baureiss (drums/percussion/vocals) have developed several moral themes, which pound out loud and clear in their eclectic rock performances.

Their strong stance against pollution shapes a main point of their morale agenda. Vocalist Brad Fenwick defines their song "World One: People 0" as an illustration of "man's effect on the planet and the danger of us messing it up to the point where the Earth gets back [at the humans.]" This song's lyrics explicitly pinpoint the practices it blames for causing the destruction: "Raising cattle to feed the sheep, killing rainforests to choke on meat ... everyday more and more pollution."

The group is also dedicated to promoting peace, and is politically anti-American in its attempt to do so. In "Orwellian Nightmare Revealed," the lyric "move it along now and give it a push, no Skull & Bones and no George Bush" leaves nothing to the imagination as to which side they attribute the imminent threat of an Iraqi/American war.

The band is realistic about the consequences that promoting such a controversial position may bring: "There is a political concern because whenever you take a stand on something like that," Fenwick comments. "You run the risk that you're either not going to be popular, or you're going to bring on [backlash] that you don't want."

In spite of these pitfalls, he maintains that the morale of their music is its most important element, and is determined to stick to these convictions, even at the potential price of personal fame and fortune. "Music is a great way to get messages out ... if that means that you're not going to be as big as the next band, that may be the path that we're supposed to be on."

In spite of the timeliness of their messages amidst the current political atmosphere, Fenwick claims that Antigravity are not political extremists. They prefer not to be viewed as radically left or right wing on any issue, but believe that each issue should only be judged on a socially conscious understanding of right and wrong.

Taking action upon such awareness is an option they prefer to leave to individual choice based on the strength of one's convictions. "If people are incensed about an issue, then they should protest," he says. Antigravity's recent choice to march from City Hall to the parliament buildings in the February 15th 'No War Resolution' protest with about 10 000 others, indicates that they follow their own advice.

As musical artists, Antigravity strives to create music as dynamic as their message. The resulting sound may be a bit heavy for mainstream rock listeners, but consists of more than daring lyrics and loud guitars, although there are an abundance of both. As Fenwick explained, the band not only wants to entice people to think against the mainstream, but to play against it as well, through alternative, interactive performances.

"Every show is going to have its own theme," Fenwick promises. "[It will] be planned out a different way, with different costumes, props, etc." On the evening of February 23rd, when the band played at Club 58 (lower level of Johnny G's, 177 McDermot), performance highlights included a painter crafting her impression of the music during the show, and the auctioning off of fluorescent liquefied jars of 'alien' specimens. The aliens symbolized the bands more eccentric beliefs, which include UFO's and government conspiracies to cover them up. Each group member also plays a variety of instruments, which on February 23rd included a wooden recorder and an accordion, alongside the standard electric guitars.

The sound and the message of Antigravity are loud, in your face, and interesting. While best appreciated by hard-core rocker types, they definitely provide a message all listeners won't soon forget.

To find out more about Antigravity and see show listings, please visit: