As Laura Stevenson and her band The Cans finished tuning up last week at the Rock and Roll Hotel, a disembodied voice came over the PA from the soundboard. “Don’t make music -- Make history,” it said, getting a chuckle from band and audience members alike. But by the end of their high energy set, it would be damn hard for anyone to believe these musicians didn’t take that advice to heart.
Riding a double-barrelled wave of buzz -- having been named one of the must-see artists at SXSW this year stacked atop the glowing early press on their new album Wheel -- the five piece band took the stage to a packed room that hung on to every word uttered by the diminutive yet hugely-voiced Stevenson. From note one, the audience sang along to old songs, and amazingly even the brand new songs were already in the fanbase rotation. Wheel tracks “Runner,” which is as perfect a pop gem as one could imagine, “Bells & Whistles,” and “Renee,” the album’s sweeping opening track, were greeted with as much enthusiasm as older favorites “Barnacles” and “Mouthbreather” off of their 2010 7” Holy Ghost!