Dilly Dally will perform at the Demo on Monday, November 9.
October was a month of firsts for Katie Monks and her bandmates in Dilly Dally. On the ninth, the Toronto-based rock band released its debut LP, Sore, to a flurry of national praise. Then, just four days later, the musicians kicked off their first American tour with a string of dates in New York City for the CMJ Music Marathon.
“We have infinite energy for this,” Monks tells RFT Music on the second to last afternoon of October. In the past seventeen days, she’s played eleven shows in seven cities across the United States — but she isn't complaining. “We might be a bit tired from being on the road but we still have that energy. That adrenaline keeps you going.”
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On November 9, exactly one month after the release of Sore, Monks and her bandmates will take the stage at the Demo, sharing a bill with The Stars Go Out and Vandalion. This will be Dilly Dally’s first time playing in St. Louis, though not for a lack of trying. The group was booked to play the Demo in August of this year, but was forced to cancel that show — as well as the rest of its summer American tour — due to visa complications.
While until now Dilly Dally had not brought its unique blend of poppy grunge to the United States, the band has long been staple of its hometown Toronto scene. Monks started the group about six years ago with her childhood friend, Liz Ball, and it has been playing shows about once a month ever since.
About a year and a half ago, Jimmy Tony and Benjamin Reinhartz joined on bass and drums, respectively, and Dilly Dally started to gain momentum. Its live shows were being received better than ever, and it even caught the eye of an American label, Partisan Records. The band started releasing singles, and in March, it was finally ready to hit the studio to start working on an LP.
“From the start, Liz and I had really high ambitions with this band. We just did,” Monks says. “We actually believe in it and we believe in ourselves. And it’s not just that we believe in ourselves, but we believe in this world, and that it is possible to truly be yourself in this world and connect with people on a real level. We're trying to be a part of it. We want that — we don’t want to stay in Toronto forever.”
Although Sore was recorded just this year, many of its tracks have been in the works for close to a decade. “Green,” for example, was written eight years ago when Monks was still a teenager. The track, like the rest of the album, has a forceful simplicity to it that resonates on an instinctual level.
“There aren’t any tricks to any of our songs; its just very bare and honest and it is what it is,” Monks says. “We’re just trying to connect with people in a deep way, and I don’t think that there needs to be any schooling or pretension behind that.”
On the album, Dilly Dally combines elements of pop, grunge, rock and punk into a whirlwind of tones and styles that keep the listener constantly on their toes. Throughout the record, Monks’ vocals ricochet back and forth between sweet, sing-songy hooks and full-on screams, often without a moment’s notice.
“I personally have all kinds of emotions,” Monks explains. “I’m coming from a really sweet home, and then every time someone fucks me over or I meet somebody who’s just really mean it really infuriates me. It really ticks me off people aren’t just nice to each other. So that’s why there’s the sweet and the tough on the record and in our art.
“When you’re gay and you’re lower class and you’re hanging around with punks all the time — and you work as a dishwasher — sometimes people don’t respect you. They don’t take you serious,” she continues. “But all of our songs have conclusions to them. All the melodies have conclusions. All the lyrics have conclusions. They’re all about hope. It’s supposed to be empowering.”
8 p.m. Monday, November 9. The Demo, 4191 Manchester Avenue. $8 to $10. 314-833-5532.
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