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Futures Past: Bridging The Gap

ATTENTION fans of The Used and Story of the Year, Metallica and Iron Maiden, Radiohead and Korn... If you check out one new band this summer, make it Futures Past.

It's hard to say exactly what makes a band CLICK on stage, or what gives them that head-turning (and head-banging)quality that gets people excited. But one thing is certain, Futures Past has this down to a science. With choreographed jumps, showy guitar tricks, audience interaction and an undeniable musical harmony, these four guys sure know how to rock.

"We like to pump the crowd up," admits guitarist/vocalist Jason. "We've seen tons of local bands out there who just don't have any energy on stage. We like to give shows our all so the audience has a good time too."

It's evident they're having the time of their lives up there. They exchange glances and smile, while trading spaces onstage, jumping together and joking with their adoring fans - many who use the weekly shows as a release from the pressures of school, work and relationships. Too heavy to be classified as "emo" and too melodic to constitute "heavy metal", Futures Past fulfills a need in the hearts of many rock fans - a comfortable middle ground.

Vocalist Ricky, hailing from Kuwait, scans the crowd carefully, selecting several individuals to point to, wink at, or speak to. He's anything but lethargic onstage, rocking back n forth, grabbing a sip of water, outstretching his arms in a flurry of emotion. Most of his songs ring a personal note, releasing the pain of failed relationships, devastating loss and disillusioned dreams. "He's our pop superstar," guitarist Arda jokes. It's true, Ricky has all the makings of a teen heartthrob... only, the band is much too heavy to catch heat from Canadian Idol.

Guitarist/vocalist Jason brings a multitude of talents to the band. He possesses a unique voice that's equally suited to guttural screaming, as it is to melodic singing. He seems to enter at all the key moments, adding harmonic emphasis and in some cases, he steals the show for an emotional solo. On any given show, audience members will be delighted by how he swiftly swings his guitar in a 360 around his body, somehow not missing a beat. Or perhaps he'll collapse mid-stage, holding his guitar up, ripping out a metal-laced solo.

Arda, the oldest member of the band at 19, is pure metal. "The covers are always the hardest to pick," Arda confesses. "I hate playing Story of the Year and emo crap... but sometimes you have to compromise because we all listen to different stuff." He smiles most when he's hunkered down over his guitar in true Korn fashion, cranking out fast, heavy licks, like in their latest single "Dreams of Reality".

In an episode of Southpark, Cartman says, "Token, how many times do we have to go over this? You're black. You can play the bass." In a nonstereotypical way, Garth proves that he has a natural knack for holding the low-end rhythm effortlessly. Though somewhat reticent in person, he looks perfectly content behind the bass, adding a spice of heaviness to the mix, unexpectedly running out onto the floor to say hello to the crowd every once in a while.

Don't overlook the skinny shirtless drummer, banging away like Animal in the background. His energy seems endless as he runs around the venue before their set, enthusiastically practicing stage dives and faithfully rocking out to the opening bands. Nathan is never spotted without a giddy grin spread across his face, making him appear both jovial and approachable.

And lest not we forget the band manager Steve! He definitely takes the cake for being the most dedicated dad, proudly cheering his son Jason on at every gig, head-banging with the rest of the crowd to reveal his genuine passion for metal. Steve's a rarety in the dizzying cruel world of managers and promoters - probably the nicest guy operating in the scene these days. He won't hesitate to give enthusiastic fans a free pass or CD, he's always scurrying around the venue with big smiles, news about their latest progress and loads of exuberance about the band's sparkling future.

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The band originally formed in 2003 to rock their highschool Battle of the Bands but stumbled across a winning formula in the studio. Although the show was cancelled, the band members went on to find a happy home at The Reverb. Futures Past caught on like wildfire and spread to The Vatikan, Healeys, Club 279, The Funhaus, and even played a legendary show at The Docks.

"I'll never forget the show at The Opera House," Jason recalls. "We separated the whole crowd in half... and on the count of three we'd have the entire audience run into each other, starting a huge mosh pit, while our guitarist Arda jumped right in!" Other fond memories include playing a packed show at The Docks.

Though they've yet to finish their full-length debut, the band places constant gigging above all else. "Our main goal is to just get the music out there," Futures Past tells BlogTO. "There's a lot of great talent that's still unheard of. Right now we're just promoting ourselves, doing as many gigs as we can, and sort of like force-feeding people".

Luckily Toronto has a huge appetite for "recreated old rock with a new twist" featuring heavy guitars, melodic vocals, energetic drumming and resounding bass. In addition to playing Reilley's this Friday, the band is excited to announce a summer tour that includes the likes of Ottawa, Sudbury and Hamilton. Word on the street is that an Australian talent scout has even offered $3000 and an all-expenses paid trip down under! Futures Past has wow'ed audiences in Toronto and are ready to crank the amps up a notch and break out cross-Canada and internationally.

"Just broken hearts and empty dreams - it's what I live for," Ricky sings. However, with so much talent and promise at such a young age... it looks like this dream will surely be fulfilled.

For more information and audio clips, check out:
http://www.futurespast.ca
http://www.myspace.com/futurespast


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