by Slone Fox
When it comes to staying true to yourself, the Calgary boys of Mandible Klaw live by a strict set of standards: play fast and loud, drink a lot of beer and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t wear plaid on plaid.
Hailing from various bands of all breeds over the course of the last decade, the five-piece party produces short and rapid tracks that translate seamlessly into their frantic live shows. Made up of drummer Mikey Blotto, vocalist Steve Benz, bassist Niall Howell and guitarists Dave McAuley and Justin Courtney, Mandible Klaw steers clear of extensive tracks and focuses their energy into quick thrashes. According to Blotto:
“Some of our newer songs we’re working on are starting to get a bit longer and closer to three minutes, but it’s kind of the punk rock thing, y’know? There’s not a lot of attention span going on there so we try and keep it short and sweet and under two minutes.”
While they’re local royalty in Alberta, Mandible Klaw has successfully started to slither their way across provincial lines to take over British Columbia on their upcoming tour to the west coast and back. With SBC Restaurant as their home away from home, Mandible Klaw released a live recording from the venue on their 2018 album What's The Matter and are set to make another appearance on August 24 with Sore Points, Car87, No Brainer and Dead Cells.
While the band as a whole produces a massive energy on stage, Blotto was kind enough to delve into what each piece of the quintet is really like on the deepest, cosmic level, conveniently sparing himself:
“We played a show in Lethbridge a couple years ago and Dave got pretty drunk. The next morning he was at Denny’s with some friends we were on tour with and felt the overwhelming need to throw up,” says Blotto. “In his rush to get to the bathroom in time he accidentally barreled through the doors of the women’s washroom immediately spewing upon entry. Unfortunately for two nice older ladies, they were caught in his path.”
Following some sort of terrible bodily fluid theme, Blotto goes on to divulge the torture that real-life brother, bandmate and doppleganger, Courtney, put him through:
“When we were little kids Justin used to climb into the crib and torture me. He climbed in one time and ripped my diaper off, and everything that was in there smeared everywhere.”
With Mandible Klaw going strong for nearly half a decade, it’s more than enough time to witness the good, the bad and the questionable. With Howell and Blotto both hailing from previous band Spastic Panthers, Blotto recalls Howell getting into fist fights with the vocalist for fun, teeth getting knocked loose, and the continuous friendship throughout that miraculously never wavered. In Benz’s case, though, a second person wasn’t required to make poor decisions:
“When we did our first short tour together, Steve started doing this thing where he’d take his shoes off and beat himself in the face with them,” says Blotto. “We played four shows on that tour and Steve had to return to his partner and his job looking like he got the shit kicked out of him. I think he had two black eyes and bruises on his forehead."
With so many raucous years of experience and stories behind them, there are undoubtedly just as many that lie ahead. Mandible Klaw is set to start recording a new album this fall with a release planned for early 2020. Catch them on their upcoming tour at one of the following dates:
August 22nd @ House Show, Victoria, BC
August 23rd @ The Cambie, Nanaimo, BC
August 24th @ SBC Restaurant, Vancouver, BC
August 30th @ Vern’s Tavern, Calgary, AB
September 21st @ The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club, Calgary, AB
October 5th @ Broken City, Calgary, BC