Wednesday 22 March 2023

The Sarcastic Onions, An Ontario Band With A Costa Rica Connection

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22 March 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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Inspired by their travels and experiences peforming across Central America and Ontario (Canada), Natalie Martin and Danny Spence created the multi-genre layer sound of The Sarcastic Onions.

 Sarcastic Onions SYSTEM The Sarcastic Onions, from left, Natalie Martin (keyboard), Sam Daniels(drums) and Danny Spence (guitar).
The Sarcastic Onions. From left, Natalie Martin (keyboard), Sam Daniels(drums) and Danny Spence (guitar). Photo from The Sarcastic Onions website.

Martin and Spence, together for 11 years, have been performing and writing music together since 2005.

Their song “Chicken Again” is a hilarious summary of the Spence and Martin “road trip to hell.”

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“We thought we were going somewhere that we ultimately weren’t with this terrible road and we just could not seem to turn back. Dan said ‘let’s just give up’ and I said ‘no, we will keep going’,” recalls Martin, adding they get lost somewhere past Thunder Bay near Pukaswka National Park in northwestern Ontario.

“Another hour goes by and I thought Oh God this is just terrible. The whole time we kept seeing wild animals, like a black bear and a deer. So I was driving and Danny had the guitar in the passenger’s seat. We started grunge singing about all the weird things that we were seeing on this road. Shortly after that, baaaaad chicken (from a major chain grocery store) got purchased,” she adds.

The Central American connection comes through Spence’s retired mother who lives in Costa Rica, where Spence began vacationing and then performing in the late ’90s, learning to play music and work with Calypso musicians. In 2005, Martin joined him and the pair now plays full-time in resorts for special groups and holidays during the winter months which included a 2015 tour with acclaimed reggae band Plan B.

Martin says they have a Caribbean band called Coconut Cross comprised of polar opposites.

“There are two older guys, two younger guys, two black guys and two white people,” she notes, “Then there is a Calypso guy, a Patois kind of guy, plus Danny and me. It’s just such a mixture. We came up with that name and it seems to suit us pretty well,” says Martin adding the music on the next Onions album is inspired by their time in Costa Rica.

“There are a couple of reggae songs we are excited about,” she says. “We got a little bit political but not too crazy. We touched on the Mike Duffy scandal, so stayed tuned for “Senator Pig.”

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[su_box title=”The Sarcastic Onions” box_color=”#f8f8f8″ title_color=”#141212″ radius=”0″]”Cruising on King Street” – Marina’s Bar – 323 King St. E., Kitchener – Friday, July 8, 8 p.m. – FREE. [/su_box]

Martin and Spence say The Sarcastic Onion was inspired by the by the acerbic wit of John Lennon.  “The Beatles are our all-time favourite band. And John Lennon is the ultimate sarcastic onion, so the name’s definitely a nod to him,” says singer/keyboardist/bass player Natalie Martin, who is one layer of the Onions along with lead guitarist (and Martin’s partner), Danny Spence (Bad Pickle), and drummer Sam Daniels.

“We like to glorify the mundane!” says Martin with a raucous laugh.

That explains Spence’s Peter Sellers-style German narration to the apocalypse-tinged 10-minute Spinal-Tap-ish “turn-volume-up-to-11” “Planet X” on their debut CD. Spence’s prog flourishes and wailing solos are set to Martin’s cry of alarm, “Open your eyes and wake up.”

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“Planet X” was produced by Ron Roy at Threshold Sound. Martin says the songs were tracks that she and Spence had been working on for a few years in the studio.

“We had a couple of guest musicians but mostly the drums were crafted from good drum tracks. Ron is fantastic at filling in all the blanks,” notes Martin. “We would do all of the harmonies and play all of the instruments. Now that we have Sam we really feel like our sound has come together in terms of our harmonies.”

The Sarcastic Onion will plays Kitchener’s Marina’s Bar on July 8.

Original article appeared at the The Hamilton Spectator

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