MAPLE RIDGE BAND SENTENCES YOU TO CHECK OUT 'LIVE SENTENCE!' - A COLLECTION OF 14 CRIMINALLY-PUNK ORIGINAL TRACKS
Written by Brie Dunphy
It's New Year's Eve, 2018. You’re in Chilliwack. You and your friends arrive at a house with the words "TRASH MANSION" spray-painted on the living room windowpane. As you approach the building, a blast of moist air reeking of booze hits your senses like a beer can flying towards your head at a local show.
Then, in the chaos, you see it. A podium is slammed down in the middle of the living room. Four judges appear. You know, the dudes who can send you to jail with the slam of their gavel as they sport their criminally fancy wig and full robe.
Meet the Judges. Formed in 2017, the aptly named Maple Ridge band thrives on top tier puns parodying the justice system and creating satirical content in the form of punk rock.
"It’s all supposed to be a big play on this whole legalese sort of idea," says frontman "The Honourable" Jay Raymond, who has been an active musician since 1993. "For whatever reason, people just eat it up. They love it because it's fucking hilarious and it doesn't have to push against their political values."
With a name like the Judges, and a debut record called Opening Statements, one might think this group of law-enforcing civilians (not really) might lean towards an on-the-nose political standpoint. Having strong values themselves, the band purposefully chooses not to spell it out to the audience.
"We are specifically not political. That was one of the things going into the project right off the bat, is that I didn't want to be talking about the case of the moment or any of that sort of thing," says Raymond. "Without a doubt, we're pretty much all aligned on our political principals. I would say we're 100% apolitical."
The momentum doesn’t stop for these theatrical punks. Recorded live at the Rickshaw Theatre, their new album Live! Sentence features Judges classics such as "Fight Court", "Fresh Justice", "The Gavel Road" and several previously unreleased tracks including the crowd-favourite, "What's Under the Robe". The album will be released on February 1st.
"What we are, is mostly theatre. We don't do practices. We do rehearsals. We want to make a big experience," says Raymond " I think that's one of the crucial ways that you can differentiate yourself. That and swinging a giant golden gavel and calling yourself a judge."
The Judges play their Live Sentence! release show on February 1st at Pat's Pub.