Entertainment
Murray Atkinson, Craig Northey, Doug Elliott and Pat Steward make up Odds, a Canadian alt-rock band that made a stop at Calgary bar The Gateway on Tuesday.
courtesy Wayne Hoecherl

Odds, without end

Vancouver alternative quartet lives beyond the '90s

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Jordan Clermont

Gauntlet Entertainment

What do The Kids in the Hall, the Canucks and The Barenaked Ladies have in common? Besides being Canadian, they have all collaborated with Vancouver power-pop band Odds, who rocked SAIT's The Gateway this Tuesday.

The group, led by singer-songwriter Craig Northey, formed in Vancouver in 1987 and had some major-label success in the early '90s with songs like "Heterosexual Man," "It Falls Apart," and "Make You Mad." After their fourth album, Nest, the band went on a hiatus of sorts. Though they were no longer playing as Odds, Northey continued to work closely with bass player Doug Elliott and drummer Pat Steward.

The trio started a Wednesday morning music club, and after only two sessions, the band realized they had enough material for an album.

Right around that time, The Barenaked Ladies called the band to invite them to play on their floating Caribbean concert cruises. They recruited guitarist Murray Atkinson as the fourth member and began to slowly resurrect themselves into Odds once again.

Most recently, you may have seen and heard the band on Hockey Night in Canada as the house band for the Vancouver Canucks during last season's playoffs.

"It was awesome . . . we got to do some pretty exciting blasts of music and sort of feel like we made a difference with the team that we follow. So it's pretty much a simple hedonistic pleasure."

Talking about the infamous riots that ensued after the game, Northey, who actually played with Odds at Vancouver's 1994 riots, says that "there was the same number of people, [in the city during the Olympics and only] 400 police, so people who don't have much going on in their lives and don't have much brains took advantage of that."

If you skipped the riots and instead watched Death Comes to Town, The Kids in The Hall's recent TV miniseries, then maybe you may have noticed that the instrumental theme song was written and performed by Odds.

In fact, Northey scored all the music for the show in just the most recent of a long history of collaborations between the band and the comedy troupe.

"They think the way we do and are light-years ahead in other departments," says Northey, "so we can feed off each other. I think the way I think about music is complementary to the way they think about the world."

Odds, like The Kids in the Hall, find humour in a distinct way. Talking about his unique approach to lyrics, Northey explains that "things that are pathetic or dark or hard to deal with are also kind of beautiful and kind of funny . . . it just takes one little tweak in your brain and it works that way."

Speaking to aspiring musicians and bands, Northey advises them to "enjoy yourselves . . . I was just doing what I loved to do and was single-minded about it . . . and so I just did it despite other people saying, 'You should probably get a job now.' Not that I didn't want to listen, or didn't think they were right, I just didn't hear them.

"So I think if you have that in you . . . then you should be fine. You don't need any advice. Just keep going and nothing will really bother you."

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